Billy Joel wasn't a happy man. He'd had decent success with the Piano Man album, but he wasn't above biting the hand that fed him: the Streetlife Serenade single "The Entertainer" complained outright about Columbia Records executives cutting the single for "Piano Man" down from five minutes to make it more palatable to radio. Elsewhere on the album, Joel was scripting visions of a past and present that weren't leaving him with many options. The title track seemed to mock fellow performers. "Los Angelenos" sounds like he's lost whatever love he had for the west coast (except maybe his hooker friend "Roberta"), while "The Great Suburban Showdown" sounds as if Joel's packing in his entire career for a shot at moving back into his old Long Island bedroom. Two instrumentals ("Root Beer Rag" and "The Mexican Connection") suggest Joel was pressed for time. "Weekend Song" and "Souvenir" further pile on the existential despair, whether Joel's own or what he imagines from the corporate workers around him. He'd soon make it back to New York and kick into high gear.