Billy Joel – 52nd Street (1978) [Remastered Reissue 1998 (2001)]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 40:10 minutes | Scans included | 3,03 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 40:32 mins | Scans included | 771 MB
Featuring 1998’s remastering & 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound
Following up his 1977 breakthrough smash The Stranger was no easy task for Billy Joel; 52nd Street shows he wasn’t quite up to the challenge, though it sold similarly well and kept the momentum for his fast- track career until the more impressive Glass Houses appeared in 1980.
52nd Street isn’t without its moments: “My Life” remains one of Joel’s most memorable hit singles, “Half a Mile Away” is a wonderful slice of infectiously upbeat pop, and “Rosalinda’s Eyes” sways to an alluringly airy Latin feel. But macho poseur numbers such as “Big Shot” and “Stiletto” are embarrassingly overwrought, while the arty “Zanzibar” ultimately comes across more as pretentious than adventurous. The closing title track fails to convince anyone Joel is a cool blues hound.
Once The Stranger became a hit, Billy Joel quickly re-entered the studio with producer Phil Ramone to record the follow-up, 52nd Street. Instead of breaking from the sound of The Stranger, Joel chose to expand it, making it more sophisticated and somewhat jazzy. Often, his moves sounded as if they were responses to Steely Dan — indeed, his phrasing and melody for “Zanzibar” is a direct homage to Donald Fagen circa The Royal Scam, and it also boasts a solo from jazz great Freddie Hubbard à la Steely Dan — but since Joel is a working-class populist, not an elitist college boy, he never shies away from big gestures and melodies. Consequently, 52nd Street unintentionally embellishes the Broadway overtones of its predecessor, not only on a centerpiece like “Stiletto,” but when he’s rocking out on “Big Shot.” That isn’t necessarily bad, since Joel’s strong suit turns out to be showmanship — he dazzles with his melodic skills and his enthusiastic performances. He also knows how to make a record. Song for song, 52nd Street might not be as strong as The Stranger, but there are no weak songs — indeed, “Honesty,” “My Life,” “Until the Night,” and the three mentioned above are among his best — and they all flow together smoothly, thanks to Ramone’s seamless production and Joel’s melodic craftsmanship. It’s remarkable to think that in a matter of three records, Joel had hit upon a workable, marketable formula — one that not only made him one of the biggest-selling artists of his era, but one of the most enjoyable mainstream hitmakers. 52nd Street is a testament to that achievement.
01. Big Shot
03. My Life
06. Rosalinda’s Eyes
07. Half A Mile Away
08. Until The Night
09. 52nd Street
Digitally remastered by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, NYC.