Picks and Pans Review: An Innocent Man

updated 09/19/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/19/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Billy Joel

From the sublime to the sublime in a different way, Joel has gone from his social consciousness-rock LP of last year, The Nylon Curtain, to this good-timer's tribute to the rhythm-and-blues and pop music of the '50s. He shows how well he can do what other people have done in the past and in doing it gives all due respect to the styles of Frankie Valli, Johnny Mathis, Otis Redding, the Drifters and the other performers whom this LP evokes. There are some cuts that people will be listening to for a long time: Uptown Girl, which makes one wonder when the Four Seasons are going to chime in; Leave a Tender Moment Alone, an easygoing tune with decoration by harmonica virtuoso "Toots" Thielemans, and Keeping the Faith, which celebrates '50s culture: "Ate an awful lot of late night drive-in food/ Drank a lot of take-home pay/ I thought I was the Duke of Earl/ When I made it with a red-haired girl in the Chevrolet." Joel's musical and verbal dexterity remind us in this album just how interesting and how much fun pop music can be.

From Our Partners