This is not my husband's album review. If you want to know about the actual music, go ask him.
I was never a cool kid. I was a nerd, a geek, a goody-goody. I never thought I was a vampire or a hippie or a renegade. I never got into music as an expression of how non-conformist and alternative and misunderstood and fabulous I was. In high school, while all my friends were scrambling to profess deep and abiding love for the most obscure band they could find, I loved Billy Joel. I had all of his records - yes, actual records - and spent hours in my room playing them and singing along.
When Chris picked up 12 Gardens Live, I wasn't sure I wanted to listen to it. It has been 13 years since his last album, and I worried he would suck and I wasn't interested in witnessing that. Then today, Mia was in one of her moods where she refused to let me put her down, so I popped in the cd and we danced around the house for hours. The albums are great. He resisted what I think is the downfall of so many iconic performers to revamp and redo his songs to match some new musical "message" or try to bring them up to date. Sure, they sound a bit different than they did on the original albums, but in almost all cases they are close enough that you can sing right along without feeling like an idiot when he breaks into a brand-new melody that is no match for the original.
Most music to me is just music, but some is intimately tied to a time or an event in my life and hearing it has the power to take me back to the moment of the association. Hearing this new album took me right back to being a teenager, back to when everything was simpler and also more complicated. Back to singing in my bedroom, back to the concert I attended in high school, back to listening to his last album with Chris when we had just started dating. Back to before I had any context for most of his songs, back to before I understood some of them, back to before he had a wife 5 years older than his daughter (ew).
It was a fun afternoon. And it is fun to be at a point in my life where I can say that I don't care if it isn't cool, I don't care if it brands me as boring and staid and conformist and all those things I thought were so awful in high school, this is my kind of music. I love Billy Joel.