Have you ever been to an old coffee shop on a Sunday morning?
Everything is vibrant, with sun rays blinding you from the big windows that face the city streets. Have you ever paid attention to the music? Maybe you do not know who it is or where you have heard it before, but you find yourself singing along. I am almost positive that this mysterious soundtrack of your coffee shop is The Stranger by Billy Joel.
There are many reasons why these places play this classic album, yet it is mostly because the songs are good for any mood/audience who listens to it. Billy Joel may be the piano man, but he can sing you a melodic song as well. You will be wowed by his budding talent shown on this 1977 album.
Billy Joel was never known for his looks or sense of style, yet behind the edges, he was adored worldwide for his catchy tunes and amazing songwriting skills. In many songs nowadays, you can even hear some influence from Mr. Joel such as Just the way you are by Bruno Mars and Make you feel my love By Adele (both are original Joel songs). This record changed the music world forever by its flow of a story through 9 tracks.
The story begins with a bang-of-a track called “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”. This song was an anthem in the United States during this time and still is. You may not know the title but do yourself a favor and look it up on YouTube because your ears will recall it instantly. The song tells a story about a youngster who decides to move out from his parent’s house since he refuses to move to the suburbs with them. I love this track since it is a scenario that has happened many times to almost everyone, that age peak when we cannot stand it and have to move out. Along with this amazing story, the song contains an upbeat rhythm that is perfect for summer driving with the windows down. With roaring engines in the background, your ears take a musical journey and you feel as if you are in the place of the young Joel fighting to move out.
After a few tracks the boy is now a man and is getting married in “Just The Way You Are”, and you almost feel like you have watched the child grow before your eyes. “I just want someone, that I can talk to. I want you just the way you are”, words that you can imagine being said to the bride as they have their first slow dance together on the huge dance floor. You may have guessed it, but with this slow beat and saxophone background, is one of the most popular wedding songs of all time. With Joel’s voice and just the perfect amount of percussion, this song is bound to be next on your ‘quiet times’ playlist.
I do not even need to say the title of this next track and you will instantly know it. “Only the Good Die Young”, is his most popular track other than “Piano Man” and has been covered by almost every artist from Bruce Springsteen to most up and comers today. This is a song that is perfect for campfires or a Friday night get together. Not only does it have an easy chorus, but a sound that reminds you of being at a fair in your teenage years.
Next time you go to a record shop, look through the 1$ bin and do yourselves a favor by picking up the first one you see. After listening to The Stranger, I found that Billy Joel’s influence is all around in the music world.
To all you hipsters out there, can I just say that you will be way cooler/ retro with this album and you will have a deeper appreciation for the art of creating music after listening to it. I would highly recommend the stranger for all ages on the spectrum because its flow of a storyline lets the audience depict what it looked like as if it was part of their old memories.