Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"Pressure" by Billy Joel

Song#:  1193
Date:  09/25/1982
Debut:  72
Peak:  20
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The brash piano man had been a balladeer and a rock 'n' roller to great success, but by this point in his career he was ready to add more maturity to his music and tackle some worldly topics. Joel took his time writing and recording "The Nylon Curtain," an album that would debut his more "serious" side. Addressing various subjects like the Vietnam War and the decline in American manufacturing, the LP was certainly different from previous efforts that contained more lighthearted fare like "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me." This first synth-driven single stayed close to his rockier side and dove into the subject of coping with life's pressure situations. Although the song did okay (boosted by an interesting concept video), it wasn't setting the chart on fire. It seemed that the more thoughtful Joel, while critically well-received, was not necessarily what listeners wanted.

ReduxReview:  I remember the hubbub surrounding this LP at the time. It seemed like such a statement - Billy Joel grows up! He's so serious now! He's truly an artist! I wasn't a real fan of his music, but I liked this song and bought into the hype so I picked up the album. Surprisingly, I connected with it and it still remains my favorite Billy Joel album. He would do some good work after this, but I don't think he ever really came close to repeating the depth and style of this album. He probably would never be able to anyway. It came out of a certain era and a certain time in his life. Those types of things usually come around once in a career. As a single, I'm not sure this song was truly something a mass audience would grab on to, but the synth chugs on quite well and it's one of the few rock songs Joel did that doesn't sound so forced.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The recording of this album got sidelined for a few weeks earlier in 1982. He was involved in a motorcycle accident that sent him to the hospital where surgery was done on his right wrist and left thumb. He recovered quickly and resumed work on the album.  2) Although the album was not one of his biggest hits, the Grammy folks took notice and rewarded his work with an Album of the Year nomination.


No comments:

Post a Comment