Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Billy Joel: Piano Man [Columbia, 1973]
Joel's Cold Spring Harbor was recorded in the vicinity of 38-rpm to fit all the material on--he's one of these eternal teenagers who doesn't know how to shut up. Stubborn little bastard, too--after his bid stiffed, he worked a Los Angeles cocktail lounge soaking up Experience. Here he poses as the Irving Berlin of narcissistic alienation, puffing up and condescending to the fantasies of fans who spend their lives by the stereo feeling sensitive. And just to remind them who's boss, he hits them with a ballad after the manner of Aaron Copland. C