Both of these copies have one killer A+++ side and one that just didn’t impress us, so we’ve paired them up to give you the best sound we possibly can for the entire album! This is in our opinion the Best Sounding Billy Joel Album, and when you hear this pressing you’ll understand exactly why. Super open and transparent with real detail and texture, they just don’t get any better than this.(more…)
Two big and solid Triple Plus sides, the best we’ve heard in years. Los Angelenos and The Entertainer both sound wonderful on this copy. Most copies won’t come close in terms of energy, transparency, punch or presence.
The best copy to hit the site in many years! The sound here is clean and clear with a punchy bottom end. There’s lots of energy here and the piano sounds correct. This copy will show you what this music can sound like when mastered and pressed correctly.(more…)
On side two Prelude/Angry Young Man were key test tracks. The biggest, richest copies with the most space consistently brought out the best in the songs and individual performances of the players.
Summer, Highland Falls is a great test — listen for breathy vocals, a full piano, a clear snare drum once it comes in and, most importantly, an energetic performance. You will need all four to score well in one of our shootouts. (more…)
You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last on this copy of Joel’s ninth studio album
Dynamic and open, with driving rhythmic energy – this early pressing brings this great batch of songs to life
Jam packed with hits: An Innocent Man, The Longest Time, Tell Her About It, Uptown Girl, Leave a Tender Moment Alone, and more – seven singles in all
“Joel has rarely sounded so carefree either in performance or writing, possibly due to “Christie Lee” Brinkley, a supermodel who became his new love prior to An Innocent Man.” — Allmusic
Both of these sides have the huge soundstage and startling clarity and immediacy that characterizes this album, but they also add an ingredient missing from most we heard — a full, rich, musical midrange!
On many pressings, the vocals can get hard and harsh on the uptempo tracks (“Uptown Girl” is a notable offender, and never sounds quite as good as the rest of the album), but this copy manages to fix that problem (mostly) without sacrificing transparency or top end.(more…)
The newImpex(Cisco) 180 gram remastering of 52nd Street was cut by Kevin Gray, under the direction of Robert Pincus (aka Mr Record), at the now defunct AcousTech Mastering in Camarillo. We noted in a recent review for a much superior (how could it not be?) Hot Stamper pressing:
Side one is a joke (zero ambience, resolution, energy, etc.) but side two is actually quite good. Side two fixes the biggest problem with the album: hard, honky vocals.
In his review appearing in The Absolute Sound, Neil Gader plucks two songs out of the album’s nine as especially meritorious. Oddly enough they’re both on side two. I wonder why. (more…)
It’s the side you play through to the end. When the sound is right you want to hear more. Since the opening track of this record is one of the keys to knowing whether it’s mastered and pressed properly, once you get past the sibilance hurdle on track one, the next step is to find out how the challenges presented by the rest of the tracks are handled on any given LP. Some advice follows.
Actually, what you really want to know is how good each song can sound — what it sounds like when it’s right. Once the quality of the mastering has been established, the fun part is to play the rest of the album, to hear it really come alive! (more…)
We recently completed a shootout for the album and this copy was absolutely KILLIN’ it. After playing a stack of mediocre Strangers, we are completely confident in saying that you’ll have a VERY hard time finding a copy that sounds this good.
The Stranger is chock full of some of Joel’s biggest hits, including Just The Way You Are, Movin’ Out, Scenes From An Italian Restaurant, Only The Good Die Young and She’s Always A Woman. AMG raves about this one (4 1/2 stars) and it’s easy to see why — this is the kind of pop music that still sounds fresh 40 years (!) after it was recorded and might just be good for another forty years.(more…)
A truly stunning copy of one of Billy Joel’s best-loved albums! We recently finished a massive shootout for Billy Joel’s hard-rockin’ 1980 release and most copies were pretty dreadful. Thankfully for us (and the Billy Joel fans out there) we managed to find a few copies that really work! This one absolutely nails it — they just don’t get much better than this, folks.(more…)
We heard some amazing sound coming from the grooves of 52nd Street, but let’s give credit where credit is due — the recording and mastering engineers involved with this album. Jim Boyer and Ted Jensen can both take great pride in the SUPERB work they have done here.
In-Depth Track Commentary
The first two tracks on side one really tell you everything you need to know about the sound of the side. It’s all about balance.
Big Shot is a big, balls-out rock song that packs a lot of punch. Typically the problem you run into is compression. When you get too much compression, the top end becomes pinched and shrill. You can hear this on Billy Joel’s vocals in the verses and in the guitar solo during the outro. Most copies make those squealing guitar notes rip your head off. The best copies give you a full-bodied Billy Joel; if he doesn’t sound right, what’s the point? Next!
Also, listen to the cymbal crashes throughout the song. They should really sound like cymbals and not like someone making explosion noises through a walkie-talkie. (Believe me, this analogy hurts me too, but they can really sound god-awful on some pressings.)(more…)