Year 6, Day 40: Bill Joel – Glass Houses
- You May Be Right
- Sometimes a Fantasy
- Don’t Ask Me Why
- It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me
- All For Leyna
- I Don’t Want to Be Alone
- Sleeping With the Television On
- C’était Toi (You Were the One)
- Close to the Borderline
- Through the Long Night
About the Album
Glass Houses is the seventh studio album from singer-songwriter Billy Joel. The album was released on March 12th 1980 through Columbia Records. Single It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me peaked at number one the Billboard Hot 100. The album peaked at number one on the Billboard 200. It is also the 41st best selling album of the 1980’s with well over 7.1 million copies sold in the United States alone. The album is certified 7x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Thoughts on the Album
So here we are, day number 40, the final day of the project. It’s bittersweet, but unfortunately, the show must come to an end for this year. But don’t you worry nor cry, as we will be back again next year with a whole nother 40 albums in 40 days. I fee like there are artists in everybody’s music have. What I mean by this is, that you can like very specific genres, but there are certain artists that you still listen to outside that/those genres. I feel like those artists for example are Hall & Oates, Bruce Springsteen, and today’s artist, Billy Joel. I think it’s because of their ability to craft a masterful song that appeals to just about everyone. That’s what Billy Joel did with his 1980 effort, Glass Houses, an all around solid and excellent album that is every top heavy in trying to shed its balladeer image.
Glass Houses is arguably Billy Joel’s most rock oriented album he’s released, and as such, he focused on following my favorite formula for everything in life: K.I.S.S. or “Keep It Simple, Stupid”. Only utilizing five musicians for his band, Joel keeps it simple and tight, forming a cohesive sound. What gives this album a hard edge than his previous releases, is that the electric guitar and keys share equal amount of stage time on each of the tracks. However, the problem with this album isn’t that it tries to hard to be a rocker, is that it’s so incredibly top heavy, it nearly sinks the second half of the album. The first five tracks are all hits, but after that, the question marks arise.
The album opens with the breaking of glass and the hard rocking intro of You May Be Right. Joel busts out the harder edge vocals that are backed up by both saxophone and guitar. Sometimes A Fantasy, is another strong vocal performance. Then there is It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me, one of his biggest hits, skyrocketing up to number one on the Billboard Hot 100, marking his first number one hit. It’s one of his most memorable songs in his repertoire almost 50 years later. While not as strong as the first four tracks, All For Leyna, is a track that has me fascinated and captivated by it, as it stuck with me throughout listening to the album. A strange and dark song about an obsession with a one night stand. Then there’s Closer to the Borderline, which marks Joel’s first foray into the hard rock genre, though it’s not quite successful. Finally there is the album closer, Through the Long Night, a incredibly (and beautifully) well constructed track that makes excellent use of the harmonies.
I’ll freely admit, Glass Houses isn’t Billy Joel‘s best or greatest album. But what it is, is one of the few defining albums of the new wave/post punk movement. Glass Houses is an album that tries a bit too hard to shed Billy Joel‘s balladeer image. However, the entire first half of the album are some of the most recognizable and most memorable of The Piano Man’s repertoire. And while most people will just listen to one of the many of greatest hits albums, Glass Houses is most deservedly worthy of listen and a place in your music library. Tracks like You May Be Right and It’s Rock and Roll to Me still receive airplay on classic rock and variety music radio stations all around the United States. Glass Houses is an essential album for both getting into Billy Joel and following along on his career.