Album Review: Billy Joel’s ‘The Stranger’

Album cover courtesy of Columbia Records.

Album cover courtesy of Columbia Records.

Billy Joel’s The Stranger, released in 1977, is one of the most iconic albums in music history, and its songs are still very popular today. But does his musicianship hold up to the test of time?

For the most part, it does. The album is short, clocking in at around 42 minutes, but it has a lot of good. Songs like “Vienna” and “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” are still applauded today; they are timeless works of art.

However, not all of the album is perfect. For one, just like any album that is over 40 years old, some of it sounds a bit dated, both lyrically and musically. It’s not as bad as many other songs of the time, but subtle sexism seeps its way into Joel’s music.

The music itself can sound a bit off at times, with Joel using a different voice than usual that does not sound as good.

However, the good definitely outweighs the bad, evoking both powerful nostalgia and timelessness.

The album begins with “Movin’ Out. While not as long as some of the other songs on the album, it’s still a classic that can be played today.

Next up, the song the album is named after: “The Stranger.” It’s a good song, but it doesn’t have the same timeless power that some other songs on the album have.

Beginning a long series of famous releases is “Just the Way You Are.It is not my favorite song on the album, but I can respect its soft, romantic sound.

The album next features “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.” While not released as a single, the 7-minute song shows great diversity in its sound and pace, and it binds the album together very well.

Beginning side two of the album, “Vienna,is my favorite song on The Stranger. It has a quiet, realistic, and beautiful tone, and I could listen to it every single day without getting sick of it.

Overall, I don’t think the album ends with the same greatness that it begins with. “Only the Good Die Young,” while a good song, does not have quite the same timelessness, in my opinion.

As for the rest of the songs, they sound more dated, and Billy Joel’s vocals just don’t sound the same outright in “Everybody has a Dream.”

Even with its problems, The Stranger is a classic and an important album in musical history. Many of its songs are still classic today and have stories in their sounds and lyrics that inspire.

Overall, I’d give the album a 4.5 out of 5 stars. No album is perfect, but The Stranger does a good job. It’s a classic that can’t be forgotten.