[22 February 2013]
PopMatters Interviews Editor
Welcome to the tricky world of compilation repackaging, friends. What you have before you is She’s Got a Way: Love Songs compiling the greatest bits of romance from everyone’s favorite piano crooner of choice, Billy Joel. Now, casual observers may note how Joel already has a compilation of love songs out, 2010’s lesser-known international compilation She’s Always a Woman: Love Songs. So what, might you ask, is the difference? Well—the names of the albums, for one. Aside from that, these are the exact same 18 songs in the exact same order, here repackaged for a Stateside audience.
While there’s nothing wrong with a collection of Joel hits, the problem with compilations as expansive as these is that they tend to highlight just how dated an artist’s sound can be sometimes. Tracks like “This is the Time”, “The Night is Still Young”, and especially the acoustic number “You’re My Home” continue to contain quite a noticeable punch. The schmaltzy synths of “Just the Way You Are”, the Hornsby-esque affectations of “Temptation”—these are relics of their era, and tend to seriously date the songs, strong as they sometimes are. Thus, this compilation at least gets credit for some nice detours in the form of the rollicking “Travelin’ Prayer”, the noticably dark “Nocture”, and a pitch-perfect closer in the shape of “And So It Goes”, quite possibly one of his finest-ever ballads (and that’s saying something). The rest is take-it-or-leave-it, and it’s then where other Joel compilations might be worth seeking. Just in times for Valentine’s Day, however? She’s Got a Way still hits its mark, warts and all.