Billy Joel's best album
jblyn | Maryland, USA | 12/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While I like Billy Joel a lot, I've found that a number of his albums AS albums are hit-or-miss. Many of them have a number of great songs accompanied by a lot of not-so-great songs, or the quality of the production wasn't always up to snuff (especially on his earliest albums). None of those problems apply to THE NYLON CURTAIN. From start to finish, Billy Joel has made an album where every song is top-notch and flows as a perfect whole. He tackles subject matter that was more about where a lot of us were at that time (I'm now a fiftysomething but was a late-twentysomething back in 1982 when this was released) and does so alternating wit, anger and sadness without once sounding like he's straining when shifting gears. The production is fantastic, too---everything is crisp and clear, every nuance adds to each song, and the whole Billy Joel Band is in great form, especially Liberty DeVitto, one of rock's best drummers ever. THE NYLON CURTAIN is not only one of Billy Joel's best albums, it's a timeless example in this iPod age of what a good ALBUM could be and is, and why a good one such as this endures after so many years."
Billy Joel's overlooked 1980s gem is still his best 80s albu
Terrence J. Reardon | Lake Worth (a west Palm Beach suburb), FL | 02/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Piano man/singer/songwriter Billy Joel's eighth studio album (ninth overall) entitled The Nylon Curtain was released in September of 1982.
It was two and a half years since Billy released his chart topping blockbuster Glass Houses and fans wanted new music. 1981's Songs From the Attic was a good holdover but was a live album recorded from the Glass Houses tour which gave many of his pre-1977 material the recognition they long deserved. Also, Joel went through life changes in the two years (the shocking death of his musical hero Beatle John Lennon, a recession that gripped America, a motorcycle crash and divorce from wife number one) that made Billy and his band (drummer Liberty DeVitto, guitarists David Brown and Russell Javors and bass player Doug Stegmeyer) plus producer Phil Ramone to do an about face from the New Wave sounding Glass Houses which gave him his masterpiece (as I found out a few years back).
We begin with the working class, almost Bruce Springsteen sounding Top 15 hit single "Allentown". This tale of factory workers being laid off is still relevant even today. Next is the Beatles sounding piece "Laura". This track about a controlling female in a one sided affair with a man she has complete control of with music reminding me of 1967/68 era Beatles in a good way is superb. Next was the album's first Top 20 hit single "Pressure". The keyboard work here is superb and lyrically a harsh lesson in reality, in which Billy tells us that we'll hit the breaking point and deal with pressures of life. We close side one with the epic "Goodnight Saigon" which was a homage to the men who gave their lives in Vietnam and then were then spat upon when they returned home (very similar to the troops coming home from Iraq being treated the same way nowadays). Though not a single, a great song with beautiful music and great lyrics.
Side Two kicked off with the mid-tempo rocking "She's Right On Time" which is as close to a Christmas song that Billy ever wrote. It isn't exactly "Winter Wonderland" but the Christmas feel is present in both lyrics and its famed video (an early MTV staple). The music here is phenomenal. Next is the ditty "A Room Of Our Own" which reminds me musically of The Beatles' 1965 track "Another Girl" from the Help! album with lyrics that speak of the old opposites attract cliche, great tune. "Surprises" is next and a great song but overlooked as opposed to rest of album. Next is the psychedelic sounding "Scandinavian Skies". The late Lennon's influence is spot on and reminds listeners of Lennon's work on Magical Mystery Tour. Awesome track. We close things with the short but sweet "Where's The Orchestra" with superb orchestrations and Billy's piano and voice.
The Nylon Curtain reached #7 on the Billboard album chart and sold two million copies in the US alone to date. Sales aside, Billy created a masterpiece that's stood up very well as opposed to some of his later work.