I can always find someoneTo say they sympathizeIf I wear my heart out on my sleeveBut I don't want some pretty faceTo tell me pretty liesAll I want is someone to believe
3. My Life
This is another track that needs no introduction. Just like 'Big Shot,' it is another standard of the Great American Oldies Songbook. The quintessential song of telling someone else to mind their own business, 'My Life' is politely rebellious; the lyrics may be telling the world to back off, but its underlying tune is a jaunty sing-along. Highly relatable, 'My Life' has likely hit a chord with many who want to pursue their own happiness without the interference of judgmental authority figures and frenemies.
(Note: the video below features the beginning of the fifth track, 'Stiletto,' in its intro).
At this point in 52nd Street, things begin to get interesting. 'Zanzibar' is a gritty ode to masculinity; a lament of a bachelor in the New York City metroplex who just so happens to likes booze, baseball, and women. (Shocking, right?) Its structure is equal parts theater production and equal parts speakeasy jazz. This is probably one of Billy's most sophisticated creations, with multiple change-ups in a short five minute timeframe. The choral hook, however, is what makes 'Zanzibar' a diamond in the rough.
I've got the old man's carI've got a jazz guitarI've got a tab at ZanzibarTonight that's where I'll be, I'll be
With the fifth track, Billy rewards the listeners who have loyally listened thus far with jazzy syncopation and staccato, the nucleus of much of his catalog. Not to worry, though, the track is still fundamentally pop in its structure. While its introduction may resemble the lovechild of 'Careless Whisper' meets West Side Story, the half-minute mark gives way to the raucous storytelling Billy Joel has made millions on. Just a man and his piano, 'Stiletto' is the essence of Billy Joel, and certainly the antecedent to later-comers like Ben Folds.