Billy Joel: She’s Got a Way – Love Songs

billy joelBilly Joel
She’s Got a Way: Love Songs
(Sony Legacy)

Buy it at Amazon!

Billy Joel should know about love – he’s been married three times, including famously to
Christie Brinkley, who could inspire an album of love songs all on her own. She’s Got a Way: Love Songs gathers many of Joel’s songs about life, love and lust while showcasing his under-appreciated talent as a lyricist.

It’s fitting that “She’s Got a Way” is the title track – it may very well be Joel’s most moving and sincere performance. If “She’s Got a Way” is an ode to love fulfilled, then “Temptation” is a horny toad’s tale of love turned into obsession.

The jazzy swing of “Just the Way You Are” made it a ubiquitous radio staple in 1977. The laid-back love fest is highlighted by Phil Woods’ mellow alto sax solos and Joel’s sentimental vocals.

Many expected choices are here, including, “Honesty” and “She’s Always a Woman.” What excites are unfamiliar gems like the paddle-steamer-paced “Travelin’ Prayer” (a Grammy winner in 1999 for Dolly Parton) and the Christmas-inspired “She’s Right on Time,” which suggests there may be some coal in Joel’s stocking, (“A man with so much tension and far too many sins to mention.”).

Joel’s 1983’s album, An Innocent Man, was a tribute to the music of the 50’s. The majestic “This is the Night” recaptures street corner doo-wop, while the understated title track speaks to Joel’s coming-of-age.

Some may balk at missing titles. Despite the shocking (for Joel) presence of an F-bomb, “Laura” should have made the grade, as well as the cozy “Through the Long Night.”

She’s Got a Way: Love Songs may not be essential for fans, but for Joel neophytes, it’s an 18-track tutorial in everything that’s right and wrong about love.

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