Search - Billy Joel :: Nylon Curtain

Nylon Curtain
Billy Joel
Nylon Curtain
Genres: Folk, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

Billy Joel's chameleonlike leaps from style to style have never resulted in a more audacious album than 1982's Nylon Curtain. Gloriously overreaching both musically--Joel seems compelled to act as both Lennon and McCartney...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Billy Joel
Title: Nylon Curtain
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: Sony
Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genres: Folk, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Styles: Singer-Songwriters, Soft Rock, Album-Oriented Rock (AOR)
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 074643820028

Synopsis essential recording
Billy Joel's chameleonlike leaps from style to style have never resulted in a more audacious album than 1982's Nylon Curtain. Gloriously overreaching both musically--Joel seems compelled to act as both Lennon and McCartney on this heavily Beatles-influenced disc--and thematically, he takes on everything from romance in an age of alienation ("Laura," "A Room of Our Own") to the sociopolitical causes of that alienation ("Goodnight Saigon," the moving recession saga "Allentown"). And it all works. As a portrait of a pop artist getting the Big Ideas out of his system, The Nylon Curtain is hard to beat. --Rickey Wright

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CD Reviews

A strong, emotional gutsy album
Gary Selikow | Great Kush | 10/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A strong emotional and funky album taking Billy Joel's work straight into the 80's.

Some of it is strongly influenced by the Beatles such as the beautiful love song Laura, but some of it has a more gutsy folksy feel about life in middle and working class of America.
The roller coaster Good Night Saigon is Joel's own Vietnam song, while my favourites are the romantic A Room Of Our Own, the powerful synthesized dance song , Pressure, which is both a feelgood song and an indictment of modern life, and the fantastic song about the recession in the working class industiral American town of Allentown, and a real grip on the lives of it's people.
"So the graduations hang on the wall, but they never really helped us at all."
Allentown is a great golden memory too.

Billy's Most Challenging And Artistically Satisfyting Effort
Anthony Nasti | Staten Island, New York United States | 12/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"While most Billy Joel listeners would classify 1978's "The Stranger" as his magnum opus, it's hard to argue the artistic merits of 1982's "The Nylon Curtain." After his last album, 1980's light hearted "Glass Houses," Joel wnet through a series of events that forced to think more seriously for his next project. Whereas that last album had songs dealing with phone sex and party crashing, "The Nylon Curtain" represents the thinking man's Blly Joel, with numbers dealing with topics ranging from recession to relationship to war to drugs. (One of the key events that influenced the production of this album was the death of John Lennon, as the album is heavily Fab Four influenced with John's style being the most apparent.)

The album begins with the working class, Springsteen-esque anthem "Allentown." While its chugging rhythm and singalong melody made it a perfect pop single (it was the biggest hit iff the album and Billy still does it at every concert he does), it is lyrically much deeper than most of what was on the charts in the 1980s', a moving tale of the famous Steel Workers layoff in the 1950s'. Joel perfectly captures the lost hope and blind range of its subjects, and the result is one o his best songs.

"Laura" is up next, and it's one of Joel's most inspired pieces ever. The Fab Four's influence is very much present on this track, from the structure of the melody to the "phasing" effects on the instruments to the "oh-oh-oh-oh" backing vocals, this song would've fit quite well on "The White Album." Even the song's subject matter - about a manipulative, vindicitive female counterpart in a one sided relationship with a man she has by the balls, try as he may to get loose - is pure Beatles material, not dissimilar to "Sexy Sadie."

Next comes the album's other hit, the tense, hectic "Pressure." Featung heavily inventive keyboard work as well as some of Liberty DeVito's most impressive drumming, "Pressure" is a harsh lesson in reality, in which Billy reminds us all that we will reach that point in our lives where we need to stop making excuses for ourselves and deal with "pressure" of life ourselves. There are so many classic Joel lyrics here - "I'm sure you have some cosmic rationalle" - and the song itself remained a huge concert highlight for years.

The third single, "Goodnight Saigon," takes a sharp turn, tugging at the heartstrings as well as stimulating the mind and ears. Billy pays tribute to the men who gave their lives in Vietnam and were then spat on when they returned home. The lyrics are simple, often humorous, often chlling, but most importantly singularly effective, and the way he phrases them drives their depth even further. Another fan favorite and a concert highlight.

"She's Right On Time" holds an interesting place in Billy's catalogue as it's the closest thing he's ever gotten to compsoing a Christmas song. It isn't exactly "Jingle Balls," but the Yuletide feel is present in both lyrics well as its sparkling melody and echoey Wall Of Sound production. The haunting opening notes alone capture the image of snow falling on a dimly lit city street, and the song is driven by an irresistible rhythm provided by DeVito and the late, great bassist Doug Stegmeyer.

The Fab Four's influence pops up again on the very '80s' "A Room Of Our Own." It moves along on a lighthearted rocakbilly beat as Billy poeks fun at the old addage that opposites attract. The lyrics are some of his most clever and witty, and the song is infectious enough to garner a few listens.

"Surprises" is probably my choice for weakest song on the album, as it isn't as instantly impressive as the previous six tracks. Still, it does grow on you, and I have since liked it.

"Scandinavian Skies" is about Billy and the band's lone xperience with heroine on a tour of Sweden, and the song is a swirling, evocative number that is unlike anyting Billy ever recorded. Lennon's influence is very on target here as the first song that comes to mind is "Strawberry Fields Forever," but the song also has a striking originality to it that places it in the highest echelons of Joel's best work. 6 minutes of sonic wonderment.

The closer, the sad "Where's The Orchestra" wraps things up nicely, as Joel laments about lost hope and failed acceptance, realizing that the American Dream isn't always what it seems. The song end with a simple accordian reprisal of "Allentown," providing a nice bookend.

"The Nylon Curtain" is Billy's masterpiece, an aural feast that shows that Billy was more than just a Piano Man. Here, he becoems a serious thinking man's artist, and solidifies himslef as one of the last rock artists who could truly be called a genius."