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The Nylon Curtain Original recording remastered, Import, Enhanced

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Feb. 1 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced, Original recording remastered, Import
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0012GMV26
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
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Product Description

Released in '82; includes Allentown; Pressure , and more hits.

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Under rated album
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa3a0e288) out of 5 stars 29 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3b35cfc) out of 5 stars Billy Joel's best album Dec 24 2008
By jblyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
While I like Billy Joel a lot, I've found that a number of his albums AS albums are hit-or-miss. Many of them have a number of great songs accompanied by a lot of not-so-great songs, or the quality of the production wasn't always up to snuff (especially on his earliest albums). None of those problems apply to THE NYLON CURTAIN. From start to finish, Billy Joel has made an album where every song is top-notch and flows as a perfect whole. He tackles subject matter that was more about where a lot of us were at that time (I'm now a fiftysomething but was a late-twentysomething back in 1982 when this was released) and does so alternating wit, anger and sadness without once sounding like he's straining when shifting gears. The production is fantastic, too---everything is crisp and clear, every nuance adds to each song, and the whole Billy Joel Band is in great form, especially Liberty DeVitto, one of rock's best drummers ever. THE NYLON CURTAIN is not only one of Billy Joel's best albums, it's a timeless example in this iPod age of what a good ALBUM could be and is, and why a good one such as this endures after so many years.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3a46e70) out of 5 stars A musicians review of this album July 1 2008
By Andy Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Nylon Curtain is a very dark album full of diverse gems completely influenced by The Beatles. A quasi-concept album about growing up in the baby boomer generation, "Curtain" contains some of Billy Joels best compositions to date.

As an album, each song flows very brilliantly together, though they each have their own identity and are diverse in their own right. Musically it is (in my opinion) Billy Joels finest hour with brilliant performances and excellent arrangements to his songs. Vocally we find Billy Joel still infusing his trademark whitty new-york style but with a very dark and moody spin.. tying it all together is the brilliant performances by his under-appreciated band and excellent production by the great Phil Ramone who deserves a lot of praise here for making sure this album was recorded so well that it has definitely stood the test of time sounding as fresh as it did back then unlike some of Billy's albums.

Though it's hard to pin-point my own personal favorite of billy's albums, I do have to say as an experienced musician and producer that it's definitely 'technically' His greatest achievement on record. Definitely buy this album if you have not and experience it for yourself!

All The Best,
Andy Anderson
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3b82588) out of 5 stars Billy Joel's overlooked 1980s gem is still his best 80s album years on Feb. 26 2009
By Terrence J. Reardon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Piano man/singer/songwriter Billy Joel's eighth studio album (ninth overall) entitled The Nylon Curtain was released in September of 1982.
It was two and a half years since Billy released his chart topping blockbuster Glass Houses and fans wanted new music. 1981's Songs From the Attic was a good holdover but was a live album recorded from the Glass Houses tour which gave many of his pre-1977 material the recognition they long deserved. Also, Joel went through life changes in the two years (the shocking death of his musical hero Beatle John Lennon, a recession that gripped America, a motorcycle crash and divorce from wife number one) that made Billy and his band (drummer Liberty DeVitto, guitarists David Brown and Russell Javors and bass player Doug Stegmeyer) plus producer Phil Ramone to do an about face from the New Wave sounding Glass Houses which gave him his masterpiece (as I found out a few years back).
We begin with the working class, almost Bruce Springsteen sounding Top 15 hit single "Allentown". This tale of factory workers being laid off is still relevant even today. Next is the Beatles sounding piece "Laura". This track about a controlling female in a one sided affair with a man she has complete control of with music reminding me of 1967/68 era Beatles in a good way is superb. Next was the album's first Top 20 hit single "Pressure". The keyboard work here is superb and lyrically a harsh lesson in reality, in which Billy tells us that we'll hit the breaking point and deal with pressures of life. We close side one with the epic "Goodnight Saigon" which was a homage to the men who gave their lives in Vietnam and then were then spat upon when they returned home (very similar to the troops coming home from Iraq being treated the same way nowadays). Though not a single, a great song with beautiful music and great lyrics.
Side Two kicked off with the mid-tempo rocking "She's Right On Time" which is as close to a Christmas song that Billy ever wrote. It isn't exactly "Winter Wonderland" but the Christmas feel is present in both lyrics and its famed video (an early MTV staple). The music here is phenomenal. Next is the ditty "A Room Of Our Own" which reminds me musically of The Beatles' 1965 track "Another Girl" from the Help! album with lyrics that speak of the old opposites attract cliche, great tune. "Surprises" is next and a great song but overlooked as opposed to rest of album. Next is the psychedelic sounding "Scandinavian Skies". The late Lennon's influence is spot on and reminds listeners of Lennon's work on Magical Mystery Tour. Awesome track. We close things with the short but sweet "Where's The Orchestra" with superb orchestrations and Billy's piano and voice.
The Nylon Curtain reached #7 on the Billboard album chart and sold two million copies in the US alone to date. Sales aside, Billy created a masterpiece that's stood up very well as opposed to some of his later work.
Highly recommended!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3b82594) out of 5 stars sheer confidence and creativity May 3 2008
By Petros - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
'Nylon Curtain' comes across as a confident and creative piece of work, even now so many years later it resonates as it did in its' initial release.

Joel's piano playing and the harmonic arrangements are fluid and bold. This was not a typical fusion of his past work until then; as we had become familiar, nor was it merely an obvious throwback to old rock 'n roll as in 'Innocent Man' or the stylisitc, quirkiness and humour of 'Glass Houses', this album is yet another reflection of the soul of Billy Joel. He has always been both lyrically and melodically a confident artist and in this album all of his different influences and elements come together and it is strongly focused and thematic.

We can hear the past, present and future of Billy Joel on this album and we can hear the strong influence of his rock idols, including 'The Beatles'.

On 'Nylon Curtain, Joel is a master of his craft and an entertainer who gives it all his got!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3b828b8) out of 5 stars The flipside of the American Dream by way of the Beatles Sept. 23 2011
By John J. Martinez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
(I re-wrote the review a bit due some obvious flaws - here it is July 2014, but 90% I still agreed with. Enjoy.)

By 1982 Billy Joel was angry, and he was searching, and on his release "The Nylon Curtain," he is at his most cynical, introspective and yet he is at his most creative. From the opening whistle of "Allentown," this album by the once mostly harmless radio-friendly Joel of the 1970's has becomes something noticeably different. From Cold Spring Harbor until this, you'd notice the odd darker change. This is a more mature Joel remembering his America with sad twists and paranoia. Remember, he also did this 3 years before Springsteen's "Born In The USA" anthem and Mellencamps "Scarecrow" both made it in vogue to start an introspective look at America's flaws.

The wonderful East Coast cities of his youth in the late 1950's and early 1960's were being dragged down through the failing policies of President Reagan, and as the backlash for the first time hit Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public, they don't like it, and neither does Joel. However, manned with a piano and a wonderful imagination of his country and it's people, Joel tells the stories many citizens here couldn't or can't, and long the way no one is spared, from the U.S. government on down to his own demanding psyche.

9 songs totaling just over 55 minutes:

1 - Allentown - The Pennsylvania town, home to one of the more massive grouping steel mills on the East Coast, began to topple and fall under the weight of 1980's White house policy, and thousands and thousands of men and women who never knew unemployment now felt the economic crush of deals created by Reagan. The American flag all of a sudden didn't seem so star-spangled, and the Statue Of Liberty, once the the beacon of hope throughout the world, began to darken and fade under hopelessness ans starvation right on it's own fat shores. This song was the call to alarm in the 1980's, but very few listened at the time - until it was too late.

2 - Laura - a wonderful psychotic Beatlesesque tune about a woman who can and will eventually destroy Billy, but he makes it sound so wonderful! One of my favorite songs off the album without a doubt, I mean check out these lyrics:

"I'm her machine, and she can punch all the keys she can push any button I was programmed through"

The guitar work, especially the solo at the end is pure George Harrison, and with the help of the orchestra playing throughout the entire song, it's just a great song about obsession, a theme that would be visited many more times on the album, which brings us to

3 - Pressure - one of the more famous songs by Joel, but believe me, it's not about anyone; Joel indites himself by accusing himself of going too hard too fast, and as he screams into the mirror he knows where the problem not only lies but where the solution is as well: in himself. He's making himself unwell, and he roots out the causes - too much television, too much print magazines, too much excessive self-loathing, and if he doesn't let it go he will explode. A well-crafted song about the problems - and solutions to - himself.

4 - Goodnight Saigon - I went into the US Army in November 1984, and I had only a couple of cassettes to listen to during Basic Training: this album was one of them, and I listened to this song endlessly. This is Joel's homage to the soldiers who went to Viet Nam and never returned, and with every crescendo, you can feel the buildup of emotion and anger and fear in the lyrics. Joel told the story of reminiscing with razor-sharpness, and captured the emotions of the brotherhood and camaraderie of war with some rah-rah, but with a lot of regret as well. It's also one of the best cuts on the album. (Even as the years have passed, this song always gets me, as America's vets - now as well as then - still don't get the real honest hero's welcome they should get, because we as Americans are too busy trying to step over homeless people to get to McGarbage to stuff our fat faces with artificial food.) Remember, 4 YEARS before Springsteen - the highlight of the album, and the most Beatle-like in sound.

5 - She's Right on Time - this song is so odd as some have classified it as a "Christmas song" or at the very least a "holiday song." It isn't, by any stretch of the means. The mention of Christmas lights being turned on and Christmas trees being set up only means there's been lights hanging up somewhere for probably a long time and a Christmas tree was "needed" for her. He's been alone for a very long time, and his female partner, who sounds like she ran away or left him because of either his abusiveness or his undisclosed mental illness, is finally coming back home to him. Check the lyrics:

"I'm a man with so much tension
Far too many sins to mention
She don't have to take it anymore
But since she said she's coming home
I've torn out all my telephones
Soon she will be walking through that door
I may be going nowhere
But I don't mind if she's there
She's just in time for me
She's right on time
She's right where she should be
She's right on time..."

Maybe she ran off on him around Christmas, and he's trying to re-create the wonderfulness of what was once then - and then to rip out all the telephones, and doing so much to wait patiently for her to walk right in the door... well, I don't know about you, but this is one of the oddest and scariest songs by Joel, not the cheeriest... but still done with such complexity!

6 - A Room of Our Own - this sounds begins like an outtake, but it does make sense, if you once again look at it from Joel's psychotic sense of humor. This is a twisted take on a Beatles love song, and Joel probably knew this was one of the hardest things he could put on wax at the time. It's screwy, and the chorus is punctuated by staccato guitar riffs ala The Beatles. She's got this, I've got that, and we function - barely. The total opposite of a classic Beatles tune, and this works, in Joel's world.

7 - Surprises - One day you're gonna wake up and find out you're old. The stomach isn't as flat as it was, the hair is looking a little thinner, and your tastes at 20 will no longer apply at 40. Then, as some have done for a long long time, simply freak out and have a mid-life crisis. Divorce, mental breakdowns, a radical change in lifestyle? One day you're gonna realize you couldn't handle it and maybe you need help. Maybe you will need that help, and Billy understands. Was this album written from a mental institution?

8 - Scandinavian Skies - the greatest tribute to the Beatles sound by someone of his stature. A - and if only implied - drug-filled romp with a fictional group of tourists on an Middle European tour, and what happened in Amsterdam, Norway and West Germany probably stayed there - at least until Billy wrote this song about at last, in Oslo, as the power dropped, and the fans cried, and by the way, Billy can still played the blues all night... this has "I Am The Walrus" written all over it, but it's still a wonderful light piece of psychedelica.

9 - Where's the Orchestra? - a short piece of music to conclude the album. It's about as personal and thought-provoking as it sounds, as the singer is lost after walking in too late on the performance: there's no music, the plot is kinda pointless, the dialogue is being performed by a once-great star who's never performed live, and when it ended, the applause gave way to empty chairs that have nothing left to give, the hall is silent, and Joel is left with his thoughts in an uncertain place, and not just about what he's seen in the theater.

All in all, this album, the odd concept, and it's delivery are more than worthy of five healthy stars.

After listening to this album for almost 30 years, there is one thing I can still say, and it's that it has always brought great emotions from me, whether I wanted it or not. It was timely, it made you think, and that's very rare from a music album anymore. I want to commend Joel for following his path, having once been a boxer, part of a hard rock band in the late 60's heavy-metal band called Attila, and since the early 1970's has proven himself over and over and over. This album is a highlight of mine, and is one of my top 10 albums to bring to a deserted island.

The album as a whole evokes emotions, fits and happiness and rage, and cools you off at the end with a nice bit of reflection. This was the last album Billy Joel released in the 1980's that sold over 2 million copies upon it's initial release. This album proves that he had a wonderful songwriting power, even if at one time didn't believe it.

I recommend it heartily, and give it to a friend if they're having a bad day, they may need to hear a little craziness from someone else who totally understands their pain and efforts.

(Thanks for reading, and please don't forget to leave a comment or vote of my review - thanks!)