The way this album ends would match the way it begins if Anthony’s Song were moved (Out) from the first slot. It’s a good song, most here are, but it should go after the title theme. It’s also a story not just about a grocer named Anthony but a sergeant who moonlights as a bartender; two characters who have no business at the start of a Billy Joel album. Perhaps that’s the point. “We all have a face that we hide away… and show ourselves when everyone has gone,” the singer insists, “They’re the faces of a stranger, but we love to try them on.”
With that, the set can be taken as nothing more than imaginative fiction. Whether Billy Joel is serenading his beloved wife (Just The Way You Are) or trying to seduce a Catholic virgin (Only The Good Die Young), he’s merely playing the role of someone else. It’s a former schoolmate of Brenda and Eddie for Scenes From An Italian Restaurant. “Brenda and Eddie were the popular steadies and the King and the Queen of the prom,” he explains on the rhapsodic epic before going on to flashily outline their marriage and sequential divorce.
my rating = 4 of 5