MFSL 2-385
180 gram Audiophile Double LP

MFSL 2-385 Cover Gain 2 Ultra Analog Logo A Numbered, Limited-Edition, Double 180-gram LP, Sourced from Original Master Tapes.

Still Rock and Roll to Him: Joel Toughens Up and Increases the Animosity, Sarcasm, Confidence, and Rock on 1980 Set

lvis Costello long had a reputation for being the “angry young man.”   With apologies to the former Declan McManus, he had nothing on Billy Joelís Glass Houses.   Fed up with inexcusable critical backlash and believing heíd still not been regarded as a serious artist, Joel ratcheted up the angst on the 1980 set that, oh, by the way, happened to sell another seven-million-plus copies and top the Billboard charts.   Revenge is sweet.

An integral part of our Billy Joel catalog restoration series, Glass Houses is mastered from the original master tapes and pressed on 180g LP at RTI.   Honing in on producer Phil Ramoneís radio-tailored albeit looser, straightforward production, this edition opens up the previously veiled soundstages, spotlights the clean yet raucous arrangements, and decongests the imaging so that every note comes to the fore.   Thanks to the extra-wide grooves and meticulous remastering, Joelís urgency and temperament have never sounded so vibrant.

In addition to firing shots at detractors, Joel further solidifies his reputation as a pop maestro on the hit “Donít Ask Me Why” and mellow classic “Cíetait Toi (You Were the One),” each replete with sparkling structures and shimmering melodies.   Throughout, he dials down the grand gestures, focusing more on an attitude and directness.   At the time, Joel was conscious of the punk movement, and seems inspired to follow that genreís preference for simplicity, frankness, and irritability.   The albumís legendary artwork — the singer preparing to toss a brick through the windows of his house — is a metaphor for Joel shattering his image as a cocktail-lounge pop crooner.

Such changes are evident in the now-signature “You May Be Right,” a hard-rocking and scathing rebuttal to a romantic partner on which Joel embraces the identity of a tough-skinned madman that wonít stop at anything.   He inhabits the role with convincing theatrics, his voice mixing pushiness, smugness, self-evident humor, and cool that fits the resistive tone of the recordís songs.   Glass Houses is Joelís megaphone for stubborn independence, dogged assertiveness, and blustery confidence.

Itís also an announcement of artistic intent, a statement thatís simultaneously catchy and barbed, well-crafted and rowdy.   And it succeeds on all levels, bringing to commercial pop-rock a brashness and grit often absent from fare that sticks in your head for days.   Joel would never be seen the same way again.

1. You May Be Right
2. Sometimes a Fantasy

1. Donít Ask Me Why
2. Itís Still Rock and Roll to Me
3. All for Lenya

1. I Donít Want to Be Alone
2. Sleeping With the Television On

1. Cíetait Toi (You Were the One)
2. Close to the Borderline
3. Through the Long Night

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