An Innocent Man

An Innocent Man

Having established a burgeoning, Grammy-bedecked career as one of America's most successful singer-songwriters via The Stranger and 52nd Street, then taken a darker, formulaic glimpse at the personal traumas that lie behind The Nylon Curtain, Billy Joel retreated to the charms of pre-Beatles' American pop here. Though solid Brill Building and R&B charms had always coursed through his best work, here Joel proudly wears them on his sleeve. Whether evoking the energetic verve of the Four Seasons on "Uptown Girl," channeling some Memphis soul into "Easy Money" or paying loving tribute to the street-corner doo-wop of "The Longest Time," Joel virtually abandons the angry angst that become one of his songwriting trademarks. In its place is love for musical influences that spans the Beethoven-rooted chorus of "This Night" and effusive, Dion-esque pop of "Tell Her About It."

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