Billy Joel's late-Seventies records have revealed a songwriter with a fair amount of wit, a tough, unsentimental view of generational and class concerns…. [It] should be obvious that, compared with his commercial competition—the Styxs, REO Speedwagons, and Journeys that glut our airwaves and pretty much define mainstream above-ground rock—the guy comes off as a genius. Or at least an honest, respectable craftsman.
That said, Joel's new … album, "The Nylon Curtain," feels like something of a throwback to his earlier, dismissable work. (The songs that made his initial reputation—Piano Man and the like—seem overheated and faintly embarrassing now.) The admirable Long Island bar-band...
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