Billy Joel Pam Brown - Essay

Pam Brown

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

More like a preacher than an entertainer, [Joel] continues to sing real-life soap opera ballads that rarely show any signs of imagination…. I'm tired of hearing stories about the pains of the lonely and the strife endured by angry young men, and about how rough it is to be a musician and have to play the piano in bars where horny divorcees come to diddle with their gin and tonics….

He does have a natural talent for writing good, poetic lyrics but he never puts enough guts into them, mostly because he's so pessimistic and spends a lot of time feeling sorry and apologizing for himself….

"I've Loved These Days" is the most boringly regretful cut on [Turnstiles]….

Turnstiles does have a bit of musical variety…. ["All You Wanna Do Is Dance"] is a great rocker but the lyrics contradict that because they're actually about his disdain for rock music….

He's trying to be some sort of rock star and at the same time he's saying it's all over, he's grown up, that's not where it's at anymore….

"Miami 2017" is one fantasy tale on the album, and it's pretentious, futuristic shit about the fall and sinking of Manhattan. He should worry more about the sinking of his own artistic and commercial potentials.

Pam Brown, in her review of "Turnstiles," in Creem (© copyright 1976 by Creem Magazine, Inc.), Vol. 8, No. 4, September, 1976, p. 60.