The time between studio albums for Billy Joel was lengthening. He had settled into domestic bliss and so it was not until October of 1989 that Storm Front was released. His fans had not forgotten or deserted him, though, as the album quickly rose to the top of the charts in the United States. It was not a consistent release, but it did prove that he could still produce some meaningful and popular songs.
Storm Front also introduced two more classic hit songs. “We Didn’t Start The Fire” was one of the more clever and unique singles to reach Number One in rock history. A world history lesson in just under five minutes, it was frenetic rock ‘n’ roll that was equally creative and interesting, proving to be one of his most popular songs. Yet another Top Ten hit, “I Go To Extremes” can be considered manic rock at its best as Joel checks in with some of the best piano work of his career.
“And So It Goes” is another strong track. This ballad of love gone wrong is a gentle song stripped to the basics, his weary vocal projecting just the right tone of resignation.
There are several other tracks that are above average. “That’s Not Her Style” is a fine combination of rock and blues, featuring some excellent harmonica playing. “The Downeaster Alexa” is another of Joel’s story songs, this one telling of Long Island fishermen; plus his daughter’s name is incorporated into the title. And the title track is interesting for the use of horns to fill out the sound.
While the album contains a few failures as well, it is still a representative album. It’s not my favorite Billy Joel release but it does resonate in my comfort zone in so far as his music is concerned. Your time and money might be better invested in some of his earlier studio albums but in places Storm Front is very, very good.