full album


Dont Ask Me Why - Billy Joel - Glass Houses

Label: CBS - CBS 86108 • Format: Vinyl LP, Album, Repress • Country: Europe • Genre: Rock, Pop • Style: Pop Rock, Ballad, Classic Rock
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The back-to-back success of The Stranger and 52nd Street may have brought Billy Joel fame and fortune, even a certain amount of self-satisfaction, but it didn't bring him critical respect, and it didn't dull his anger. If anything, being classified as a mainstream rocker -- a soft rocker -- infuriated him, especially since a generation of punks and new wave kids were getting the praise that eluded him.

He didn't take this lying down -- he recorded Glass Houses. Comparatively a harder-rocking album than either of its predecessors, with a distinctly bitter edge, Glass Houses still displays the hallmarks of Billy Joel the pop craftsman and Phil Ramone the world-class hitmaker. Even its hardest songs -- the terrifically paranoid "Sometimes a Fantasy," "Sleepin' With the Television On," "Close to the Borderline," the hit "You May Be Right" -- have bold, direct melodies and clean arrangements, ideal for radio play.

Instead of turning out to be a fiery rebuttal to his detractors, the album is a remarkable catalog of contemporary pop styles, from McCartney-esque whimsy "Don't Ask Me Why" and arena rock "All for Leyna" to soft rock "C'etait Toi [You Were the One]" and Smoke Away The Pain - A-N-T - Choices new wave pop "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me," which ironically is Dont Ask Me Why - Billy Joel - Glass Houses to new wave pop than rock.

That's not a detriment; that's the album's strength. It may not be punk -- then again, it may be his concept of punk -- but Glass Houses is the closest Joel ever got to a pure rock album.

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