Billy Joel shines a light into his past
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 06/06/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After the huge success of "Glass Houses," "52nd Street" and "The Stranger," many of Billy Joel's early fans were crying 'sell-out.' From the popular success of "Just The Way You Are" to the modern rock of "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me," fans that had come up through those early piano-troubadour albums felt Joel had forgotten his roots. Joel even somewhat conceded the point when he released "Songs From The Attic."
"Our intention here is to provide a selective sampling of the earlier stuff, played the right way - with honest road muscle," Joel writes in "Songs From The Attic's" liner notes. He gets that point across right off the top as "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out On Broadway)" roars forth like the stadium rocker it was always meant to be, with far more punch than its studio version. This is one of the rare live CD's that improves on its originals. The songs from the first four albums are also Joel's picks (hence no "Piano Man," but two songs from "Cold Spring Harbor"), and this way they come off as fresh for those who had only discovered Joel around the time of "52'nd Street."
Even so, there are fan favorites here. "Captain Jack" and "The Ballad Of Billy The Kid" both appear, and the hit single of "She's Got A Way" came from this album. Joel was at a crossroads here. After the mega-success of "Glass Houses," he began a string of experiments that - while yielding hits - became more experimental and off the beaten path. (His next album would be the Beatlesque song-cycle "The Nylon Curtain.") Closing "Songs From The Attic" with the prematurely nostalgic "I've Loved These Days" is more than a touch ironic. This wonderful touchstone was Billy Joel both celebrating the youth of his musical career and closing the door before maturing in his pursuits. That the songs hold their vitality some 35 years later ("Cold Spring Harbor" first appeared in 1971) is testimony to the quality of Joel's songs."
Best Live Album of all time, Trust Me!
Shahiran Sahari | Singapore | 08/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This what playing Live is all about. Anyone who owns this album will agree that Songs In The Attic is the most complete collection of Live tracks. This one has withstood hundreds of repeated listens without losing even a tinge of energy.
Songwriting genius Joel should have been a Superstar long before The Stranger was out."