Friday, February 1, 2013

Billy Joel says his old music is "juvenile"--giving inadvertent finger to longtime fans.

In 1982, Billy Joel took an artistic leap forward with the album THE NYLON CURTAIN.  As a result, he wanted to ensure he'd read good reviews from rock critics instead of bad ones.  So, around that time, a more-positive relationship was created between Billy and ROLLING STONE. 

Prior to that, Billy Joel received variable reviews from the biweekly publication.  Positive ones overall for THE STRANGER and 52ND STREET, but then the late Paul Nelson dinged him for 1980's GLASS HOUSES.  If memory is correct, Nelson wrote that Billy came off like "a drunken fratboy putting the make on an airline stewardess."

Anyway, Billy got good treatment from ROLLING STONE hereafter.  He retired from making pop/rock albums in 1993, but would occasionally tour.  And Sony/Columbia reshuffled Billy's existing song catalog to dribble out hits compilations, live albums, album reissues and one rarities-dominated box set to the fan base.

And for the past twenty years, Jann Wenner and ROLLING STONE have continued publishing Billy Joel stories, regardless of valid readership interest.

This week, there's another Billy Joel one-page puff interview in ROLLING STONE (the issue with the cover story on Rihanna--haven't read it yet but I'm assuming it tries to spin the Chris Brown re-relationship in a positive rather than pathetic victim-goes-back-to-victimizer way).  It avoids mentioning the 412th compilation (this time of love songs), but centers on good notices for Billy's participation in recent NY hurricane benefit shows.

And then Billy Joel proceeds to call his pre-retirement music "juvenile."

This longtime fan's blood pressure went up upon reading that passage.

The logic is: it's okay/financially and morally defensible to keep making money by having Sony repackage the old "juvenile" music, but Billy can't be bothered to, say, create a second "adult" classical album or even another Broadway show (remembering the Twyla Tharp dance concept show MOVIN' OUT from the previous decade).

Fine if he wants to be Charles Foster Kane shuffling in ultracomfort between Manhattan and Hamptons Xanadus.

But if Billy Joel wants nothing more to do with actively creating music for ears other than his own, then it should be time for him and Jann Wenner to can the solipsistic crap periodically appearing in ROLLING STONE.

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