Billy Joel, Turn the Lights Back On Review


Billy Joel, Turn the Lights Back On Review

by Rudy Palma

Billy-Joel-cdAfter a hiatus of 17 years, the return of Billy Joel with “Turn the Lights Back On” is a musical renaissance. This track marks the long-awaited return of an iconic, Grammy-winning musician but also showcases Joel’s undiminished vocal sound in the realm of pop music.

From the onset, Joel’s vocal performance in “Turn the Lights Back On” is striking. At 74, his voice carries the song with a clarity and expressiveness that belies his age, imbuing the lyrics with a depth of emotion and authenticity that resonates deeply. The lyrical content, rich with metaphor and introspection, speaks to a sense of longing and reflection, particularly evident in lines that poignantly capture the essence of reconnection and introspection.

Musically, “Turn the Lights Back On” begins with Joel’s signature piano playing, setting the stage for what unfolds into a beautifully orchestrated ballad. Joel’s piano playing is excellent and as strong as his singing. Incorporating an entire rhythm section and strings adds layers of texture, culminating in a sound that flows from grand to intimate. Joel’s breath control allows him to emotionally charge his sustained notes expressiveness and shows his undiminished technical skill.

Released in conjunction with his appearance at the Grammy Awards, this is a testament to Joel’s enduring talent and artistry. The song’s structure harks back to the classic ballad form, reminiscent of the timeless works of The Beatles and Elton John. The simple yet profound melody underscores Joel’s ability to convey complex emotions through music, making “Turn the Lights Back On” an earworm from start to finish.

Joel’s approach to this song, with its old-school craftsmanship, rich diction, and major-scale melody set against deeply emotional lyrics, serves as a reminder of the power of well-crafted music. The absence of modern production tricks, relying instead on the natural beauty of Joel’s vocal tone and the nuanced delivery of the lyrics, reinforces the song’s authenticity and emotional impact.

Turn the Lights Back On” is a gift to listeners, a song that lingers in the mind, reflecting Joel’s ability to write and perform songs that touch the heart, showcasing his profound understanding of the human voice and how to sing a melody for optimal emotional impact.

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