Night and Day
Trading in his New Wave threads for an uptown entertainer's tuxedo, Joe Jackson fully embraced his love for sophisticated pop on 1982's Night and Day. True, his version of pop-rock had always shown more refinement than that of his British punk peers. But Night and Day went a step further, masterfully invoking the era of Porter and Gershwin with wry-yet-romantic lyrics and lush melodies. The result is a musical champagne cocktail, bubbling with high spirits and subtle Latin flavors. Jackson's piano virtuosity provides the album's focus. "Real Men" and "T.V. Age" take a jaundiced look at modern sexual roles and media obsessions. "Breaking Us in Two" matches yearning words to a smoothly-contoured tune. The album's centerpiece, "Steppin' Out," is a breezy celebration of Manhattan nightlife sung by Jackson with elegant urgency. First track to last, Night and Day is a work of real class and genuine inspiration.