Kenneth Burns wrote:He was always trying to prove to critics and naysayers that he could rock out. With mixed results.
Yeah, I try to separate my feelings about art and my feelings about the artist, but Joel is such a douchebag I have a really hard time doing so. That said, his art fails on its own merits most of the time anyway. His reading negative reviews onstage and then ripping them up is one of the most pathetic things I've ever heard a rock star do. And I remember him being unbearable in a 60 Minutes
segment many years back. He really thinks very highly of himself and his place in music history (although I defy him to name anyone who he's influenced.)
I do have a certain fondness for some of his songs, but I don't think I like "My Life" because it's a scintillating piece of music (it ain't), I probably just like it cuz it was the theme from Bosom Buddies
. (I was 9.) "Piano Man" is an OK song, I guess, but it has fuck-all to do with rock and roll. I've been known to sing "Only The Good Die Young" at karaoke, but (in my mind I) rock it a lot harder than Joel.
But his attempts at Grand Statements generally fall flat ("Allentown" is listenable, but holy shit "Goodnight Saigon"! Really, Billy? They had no soft soap? The horror!) And as a fan of actual doo-wop, I cannot abide his lame imitations. (He can do whatever he wants to The Four Seasons for all I care. Hard to be any more annoying imitating Frankie Valli than Valli already is, IMO.)
Finally, he should burn in hell forever for unleashing "We Didn't Start The Fire" on the world.