Greatest Hits Volume III

CD Cover Billy Joel

Review by Alphonse Leong

45-second excerpt from "A Matter of Trust" (various formats)

Sure, the really good stuff is on Volumes I & II, but there are still a few nuggets in this selection of post-Nylon Curtain material. Joel has always been most effective on direct piano/vocal lamentations on relationships, and the moving "And So It Goes" is a lesser-known example. The guitar-driven "A Matter of Trust" and Motownish "An Innocent Man" hold up well, but tunes like "We Didn't Start the Fire," "Baby Grand" and "River of Dreams," though catchy, sound a bit silly. Charges that Joel is merely a mimic with no style of his own may hold some water as he practically takes on the spirit of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen in the covers of "To Make You Feel My Love" and "Light as the Breeze."

The latest news is that Joel wants to perform solely as a concert pianist by the end of this year. Just as well, because this album proves conclusively that his best songwriting was back in his curly hair and leather-jacket days in the '70s.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on September 19, 1997

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