Billy Joel – Stranger (1977) [Remastered Reissue 1998 (2001)]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 42:41 minutes | Scans included | 3,33 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 42:30 mins | Scans included | 867 MB
Featuring 1998’s remastering & 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound
Produced by Phil Ramone, The Stranger took those who had written Joel off as a one-hit wonder by surprise (“Just the Way You Are” was among the biggest hits of 1977) and it remains a solid introduction to Joel’s restless muse at a crucial point in his career. It invited a few comparisons to Bruce Springsteen, with its prominent sax breaks, hard-edged rebel-rockers (“Only the Good Die Young”), and slice-of-life dramatics (“Scenes From an Italian Restaurant”), recounting life in a lower middle-class (Eastern Urban) setting; but Joel’s chameleonic, formalist approach to pop wasn’t to be so easily pigeonholed (Glass Houses, The Nylon Curtain, An Innocent Man…).
Billy Joel teamed with Phil Ramone, a famed engineer who had just scored his first producing hits with Art Garfunkel’s Breakaway and Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years for The Stranger, his follow-up to Turnstiles. Joel still favored big, sweeping melodies, but Ramone convinced him to streamline his arrangements and clean up the production. The results aren’t necessarily revelatory, since he covered so much ground on Turnstiles, but the commercialism of The Stranger is a bit of a surprise. None of his ballads have been as sweet or slick as “Just the Way You Are”; he never had created a rocker as bouncy or infectious as “Only the Good Die Young”; and the glossy production of “She’s Always a Woman” disguises its latent misogynist streak. Joel balanced such radio-ready material with a series of New York vignettes, seemingly inspired by Springsteen’s working-class fables and clearly intended to be the artistic centerpieces of the album. They do provide The Stranger with the feel of a concept album, yet there is no true thematic connection between the pieces, and his lyrics are often vague or mean-spirited. His lyrical shortcomings are overshadowed by his musical strengths. Even if his melodies sound more Broadway than Beatles — the epic suite “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” feels like a show-stopping closer — there’s no denying that the melodies of each song on The Stranger are memorable, so much so that they strengthen the weaker portions of the album. Joel rarely wrote a set of songs better than those on The Stranger, nor did he often deliver an album as consistently listenable.
01. Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
02. The Stranger
03. Just The Way You Are
04. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
06. Only The Good Die Young
07. She’s Always A Woman
08. Get It Right The First Time
09. Everybody Has A Dream
Digitally remastered by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, NYC.