Picks and Pans Review: Glasshouses

updated 04/28/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/28/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Billy Joel

Joel does more hard rocking here than on any LP since he became a Major Pop Star with Just the Way You Are in 1977. Through This Long Night, C'Etait Toi (half of it sung in his best Long Island French) and All for Leyna are affecting and pretty ballads, and Billy sounds like a wistful Paul McCartney when he croons in the higher ranges. But the remaining two-thirds of the Glass Houses—and its guts—is New Wave rock. The other charm of the LP is Joel's unconventional wit and vision. It's Still Rock and Roll to Me is a satiric attack on Punk trendiness and the rock press. Then, on Close to the Borderline, the album's most powerful tune, Billy explodes with a series of splenetic urban images. He hymns a "Young girl standing on a ledge/Looks like another suicide/She wants to hit those bricks/'Cause the news at 6 gotta stick to a deadline." It's a brilliant and angry song.

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