Picks and Pans Review: River of Dreams

updated 09/20/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/20/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Billy Joel

Of course Billy Joel isn't about to grunge out in a flannel shirt and artfully torn blue jeans. But the very first cut on this album has enough bellowing vocals and angry guitar to get him a green card in Seattle. "No Man's Land," a diatribe against the numbing sprawl of the suburban American wasteland, may be the nastiest Joel song oh record. If only the remainder of the collection followed through with this much sass, maybe River of Dreams would represent a great leap forward, instead of merely a little hop. But too many of these tracks borrow generically from the same sources—the Beatles, doo-wop, lounge pop—as every other Joel album. It's like déjà vu all over again. (Columbia)

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