Review #169: The Stranger, Billy Joel

Karla Clifton
3 min readSep 6, 2021

#169: The Stranger, Billy Joel

FINALLY. William Martin Joel has made the list, cruelly relegated to the lower 100s.

My mom loves Billy Joel, and therefore I love Billy Joel. At first I was pretty up-in-arms about how this was the ONLY BJ album on the list, because some of my favorite songs aren’t on this one.

But after doing some more investigating, I think maybe I was being too generous. Some of his other albums, including 52nd Street and Glass Houses, are probably great, but they aren’t monster hit after monster hit like this one is. So fine, we’ll let The Stranger be his only entry.

Shout out to all the other great Billy Joel songs that I don’t get to review, including “Big Shot,” “Miami 2017,” “The Longest Time,” “Uptown Girl,” “You May Be Right,” and “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me.”

Actually, I will review them. Here’s my review: They’re all rock and roll to me.

FAVORITE SONGS:

“Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” Workin’ too hard can give you a heart attack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack! Billy Joel does vignettes better than any other songwriter. This song inspired me to quit my job.

“The Stranger” — I think this song is what makes this album a masterpiece.

“Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” — My editor recently called this song “a thinking man’s ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light,’” which I just think is the most astute observation. Whoa, whoa, whoa-oh-oh-ohh.

“Vienna” — Raise your hand if a slightly pitchy girl performed this during your high school career at some point. To be fair, this is one of his most singable songs.

“Only the Good Die Young” — Are you dancing already?? This is not only the best Billy Joel song, it might be the best song ever written. Did you know it was originally written with a reggae rhythm? The final version is better. They say there’s a heaven for those who will wait/Some say it’s better, but I say it ain’t!

“Get It Right the First Time” — I was surprised by how much I liked this one! Love his rock and roll voice.

“Everybody Has a Dream” — To be honest I didn’t like this one that much, but I LOVED the brief sample at the end with his whistling from “The Stranger.” How 21st-Century-Hip-Hop-Album of you, Billy Joel!

LEAST FAVORITE:

“Just the Way You Are” — Apparently this is a big wedding song, but honestly, I prefer the Bruno Mars song. I think I’m gonna try some new fashion and then change the color of my hair.

“She’s Always A Woman” — I know he’s THE Piano Man, but I kind of hate his piano ballads.

IS RS FULL OF IT?

169, Rolling Stone? Seriously? How DARE you put Drake and Fiona Apple so much higher than Billy J?! Plus, the RS blurb doesn’t even MENTION “Only the Good Die Young!”

Review #168: Can’t Buy A Thrill, Steely Dan

Review #170: Disraeli Gears, Cream

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