Top positive review
31 people found this helpful
A very good investment
on 7 March 2006
This compilation, despite its shortcomings, is an excellent way to get into the music of an artist who, in my opinion, has not received nearly enough critical acclaim or public recognition on this side of the Atlantic throughout his career. Billy Joel is one of the great performers - a virtuoso pianist with both Jazz and classical tendencies, and a powerful and versatile voice to match. What's more - he writes all of his own material - lyrics and music - virtually without exception. All this adds up to a deeply personal and highly original musical collection. I would agree with another reviewer that Billy Joel is very hard to categorise - largely because he is anything but a one-trick pony (like so many other pop musicians) and writes in a plethora of styles.
About the content of the compilation: -
Highlights of the superb first CD include upbeat rock'n'roll numbers such as "My Life" and "The Entertainer", a beautifully crafted Blues ballad "New York State of Mind", the moving "You're my Home", the hypnotic and experimental "Streetlife Serenader" and funky classic "Movin'Out"
CD 2 includes the overplayed "Uptown Girl" (which frankly often merely lends Billy Joel the unfair label of "cheese"), the catchy political tale "Allentown", the passionate "All for Leyna", and the power-ballad "All about soul".
However, I would have preferred to see the likes of "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" and "Don't Ask me why" left aside, and in retrospect, "Zanzibar", "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" and "Captain Jack" do seem like surprising absentees. I might have also included lesser-known album tracks such as "Where's the Orchestra", "The Great Suburban Showdown" and "State of Grace" - but that's perhaps down to personal preference.
To conclude, this is the best greatest hits compilation of Billy Joel to be released to date and is much better value for money than the recent single CD issue of "The Piano Man". Enjoy!