If the Piano Man is right, The City that Never Sleeps is going to be sleeping with the fishes this year.
First, I should note that I used the 12 Gardens Live version of the song not because I couldn’t find the original Turnstiles version, but because I just like it better. It has more energy and there’s no weird echo-like effect on Joel’s voice. This is one of those rare occasions where I think a live version is better than the original.
But I’m sure you’re really here to find out why I picked this song in particular.
Billy Joel is the last person I would have expected to write a song about the apocalypse. Ok, I guess it’s not the apocalypse as in the end of the world so much as a localized apocalypse in New York. But either way it’s an unexpected move by a man associated with songs about bars, classy women, and rapid-fire history lessons. I’m sure there’s some sort of metaphor in the song that I’m too young to understand, but either way this is a pretty dark song, no pun intended. And yet, it’s full of clear, vivid imagery, and even a bit of bittersweet hope and nostalgia at the end.
You might know that this week, on the 20th, to be specific, Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States. I’ve spoken before about the fact that our official stance here at 13/31 is that we are not fans, and do not support Trump or the views he expressed during his campaign. But there are many who have views that go beyond ours. There are people who hate him with a passion usually reserved for more positive things, like religious revivals, or sex. There are people who believe that he deserves death. And at the very extreme end of the spectrum, there are people who believe his presidency will usher in the end of the world.
So I present this song this week in anticipation of Trump’s presidency and what some people think it will bring. While we don’t hold that same opinion, we do respect the views of others — so long as they aren’t dangerous and discriminatory, of course.
And as for me personally? I hope I never see the lights go out on Broadway.
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