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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Billy Joel

Streetlife Serenade (Hybrid Multichannel SACD)

Review by Gary Hill

Here we have a classy reissue of an often forgotten Billy Joel album. The thing is, it’s really trademark Joel, too. This is limited edition, numbered release. The music here is strong and fairly diverse and the package is just great. If you have owned this before, by all means get it. If you like Joel and have never owned this album, I’d recommend checking it out now. It has all the things you expect from classic Billy Joel music.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Streetlife Serenade

Starting with just piano, this is, in many ways, trademark Billy Joel.

Los Angelenos
This is more of a straight rocker, but it’s still recognizable as Joel.
The Great Suburban Showdown

A mellower tune, this reminds me a little of something Elton John might do. Still, it’s all Billy Joel.

Root Beer Bag
This instrumental is a fast paced one. It’s definitely a rag time kind of piece, but it actually leans toward progressive rock, too.
Roberta

Here we get a mellower, more ballad like number. It’s, again, trademark Joel, really.

The Entertainer
Bouncy and fun, this is a cool song. It’s designed to offend some people in terms of the lyrics, but it’s honest in a playful way. There are hints of progressive rock in this, but it’s more of a pop song than anything else.
Last of the Big Time Spenders
A piano and vocal piece, at the start, the arrangement gets more elements later. There is a decent amount of both jazz and blues on this. It’s another song that isn’t far removed for a lot of Elton John’s music. It’s still all Joel, though.
Weekend Song
This is a fun rocker that’s catchy and classy. It’s not a huge change, but it’s a great song.
Souvenir
This piano and voice ballad is classic. It’s very much trademark Billy Joel.
The Mexican Connection

 An instrumental, there is a bit of a Latin vibe here. Of course, given the title that’s expected. There is a lot of progressive rock built into it, too, along with some jazz and a lot more. It’s an entertaining and melodic piece.

 
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