Thursday, September 04, 2008

Album of the Day #47: STREETLIFE SERENADE - Billy Joel

Title: Streetlife Serenade

Artist: Billy Joel
Label: Columbia
Year: 1974
Songs: Streetlife Serenader/Los Angelenos/The Great Suburban Showdown/Root Beer Rag/Roberta/The Entertainer/Last Of The Big Time Spenders/Weekend Song/Souvenir/The Mexican Connection
Written by: Billy Joel
Produced by: Michael Stewart
Thoughts: Of the first four Billy Joel albums, which are sort of like indie albums on a major label, Streetlife Serenade is easily the weakest and most uneven. That doesn't mean it's not good. In fact, I kind of enjoy it. Still, it isn't easy to overlook the fact that there are two instrumentals, "Root Beer Rag" and "The Mexican Connection". They are two really good instrumentals, but they are still instrumentals, at a time when Joel was supposed to be a great singer/songwriter. (On a side note, the only other instrumental released on a Billy Joel solo LP is the beautiful piano piece "Nocturne" on Cold Spring Harbor.) The remaining eight tracks are, again, uneven. Some are really strong, particularly the opening trilogy. "Roberta" is interesting, but musically, isn't that great. The hit, "The Entertainer" is fun, while "Last Of The Big Time Spenders" is a really weird love song. "Weekend Song" is a real clunker. Then, there's "Souvenir," a beautiful short piece that concludes the album before the credits roll (a.k.a. "The Mexican Connection"). I'm not saying it's not worth getting, but it is an album you might have to think about before jumping in.
Rating: 6.5/10

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