I have loved Billy Joel’s music for as long as I can remember. His albums Piano Man, The Stranger, 52nd Street, Glass Houses, and Songs From the Attic were the soundtrack to my teen years, and hearing one of those songs never fails to fill me with nostalgia and joy.
I am also a long-time fan of classical music, especially piano sonatas. If this album had been around when I was in high school, I suspect I would have played it to the exclusion of all else. This is Joel’s classical album, Fantasies & Delusions. Recorded in 2001 in Glen Cove, Long Island, and played by Richard Joo (with whom I am also a little obsessed), it represents Joel’s most recent original recordings. While this worries me a bit, if this is the last music my idol ever writes, I will still be satisfied.
There are tantalizing little themes and passages in the album that call to mind other, earlier Joel songs. It’s been making Beloved and me crazy trying to figure out what songs are being referenced in this album. Opus 10. Air (“Dublinesque”) is driving me particularly mad. I hear threads of Vienna and And So It Goes and something else besides. If any of you can help me figure it out, I’d be eternally grateful. Everyone I play it for hears something different. The really fascinating thing is that even if I didn’t know who wrote it, I’d know who wrote it (or at least from whom it had been liberally lifted).
Elusive themes notwithstanding, this is one of the most listenable, soothing, beautiful albums of any genre I’ve ever heard. I hope it brings you as much joy as it is bringing me.