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William C. Altreuter
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ron Rosenbaum loses it over Billy Joel. More than a few rock snobs from Long Island have bemoaned the fact that New Jersey got Springsteen and the Island got Joel, but that's really not a particularly valid complaint. No doubt there are people in Passaic who are upset that the Garden State is Jon Bon Jovi's home, while Lou Reed is from Freeport. (LI gave us Blue Öyster Cult, too. And the Rascals.) And while it is true that Billy Joel has produced an abundance of material that is trite, there is no escaping that the guy has also written more than a few pop songs with great hooks and clever lyrics. What Rosenbaum is really doing here is engaging in LI self-hatred, the very thing he condemns poor old Billy Joel for. You wanna be ashamed of something Ron? Hate on The Good Rats. Objectively speaking there is no real difference between "It's Still Rock'n'Roll To Me" and, to pick a Springsteen song at random, "Glory Days"-- they are both AOR staples, intended to be amusing, and the fact that one is by a guy from Cold Spring Harbor and the other is by an erstwhile New Dylan shouldn't really enter into any discussion about the individual merits of the two songs.

Don't get me wrong-- I've never been a big enough fan of Mr. Joel to actually go out and buy one of his sides-- but like Robert Christgau I reached a point where I simply gave up trying to resist.

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