Harmonize: Cold Spring Harbor by Billy Joel

This week for Harmonize I am going to introduce to you one of my favorite albums by the most talented, amazing, wonderful, fantastic singer ever (in my opinion). It is the big man himself… BILLY JOEL!

Many of you may have already heard of Billy Joel, even if it is because your parents listened to “My Life” or “We Didn’t Start the Fire” on loop. However, many Joelsters have never listened to Cold Spring Harbor. The album was the first for Billy Joel, released in 1971. It consists of pop rock and soft rock. It is perhaps the rawest record Joel has ever created. At the time he was only 22, and had recently been going through emotional turmoil. The album is different from other Joel albums, as he opens up and gets personal about his life in a way he never has. He does not cover up the lyrics with layers of instruments or back up singers. For most of the songs it is just him and his piano. The album was never widely popular because the record company sped up the track, causing Joel’s voice to sound higher than it is. Apparently, it ruined the sound of the record. Joel left the record company, and began to play piano in bars under a fake name. When he returned, he created Piano Man based on this experience. Cold Spring Harbor is sad, but beautiful. It reminds me of a fresh spring day, filled with new beginnings after a long, hard winter. I recommend this album to anyone who can appreciate someone communicating difficult feelings in such an eloquent way.



Taste test: (songs to listen to if you do not wish to hear the whole album)

1. ”Tomorrow is Today:” “Tomorrow is Today” was written about Billy Joel’s attempted suicide. He created the song “You’re Only Human” later in life to raise awareness about teen suicide. Lines like “Still I'm waiting for the morning, but it feels so far away. And you don't need the love I'm giving, so tomorrow is today,” pull the listener in. The delicate piano does not distract from the meaning. It’s a depressing song, but nicely done. People can feel Joel’s emotional vulnerability purely in the way he sings and plays.



2. “Why Judy Why:” Why Judy Why is about Joel’s sister Judy. It can be assumed Judy and Billy were close, but there has been a strain on the relationship since Judy is no longer around. Joel never mentions why. My favorite line has to be “A man my age is very young, so I'm told. Why do I feel so old? Tell me why, Judy, why?” It shows life can be tough, and can cause some people to age before their time. It is not age, but experience, that forces people to grow.


3. “Got to Begin Again:” the song “Got to Begin Again” is about starting fresh. I believe it is about how Joel may have felt after his suicide attempt. He lived. He made it through this dark period of his life, and came out on the other side of it. The line “But I've got to begin again. Though I don't know how to start. Yes, I've got to begin again, and it's hard,” is my favorite because it talks about how hard it can be to get a new start. It takes a lot of work for a person to change their mindset and face the world. I can imagine how difficult this would be in Joel’s case. 



If you guys wanna listen to the album,here’s the Spotify link!