Thursday, September 23, 1982

Billy Joel’s The Nylon Curtain released

First posted 5/9/2011; updated 9/22/2020.

The Nylon Curtain

Billy Joel

Released: September 23, 1982

Peak: 7 US, 27 UK, 12 CN, 4 AU

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 5.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop/rock singer-songwriter


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Allentown (11/27/82, 17 US, 19 AC, 28 AR, 21 CN, 49 AU)
  2. Laura
  3. Pressure (9/25/82, 20 US, 8 AR, 9 CN, 16 AU)
  4. Goodnight Saigon (3/19/83, 56 US, 29 UK)
  5. She’s Right on Time
  6. A Room of Our Own (11/13/82, 27 AR)
  7. Surprises
  8. Scandinavian Skies (10/9/82, 38 AR)
  9. Where’s the Orchestra?

Total Running Time: 41:57


3.608 out of 5.00 (average of 11 ratings)

About the Album:

With previous album Glass Houses, Billy Joel set out “to prove that he could rock as hard as any of those new wave punks.” AMG “For all of his claims of being a hard rocker, his work inevitably is pop because of his fondness for melody – but he proved to himself that he could still rock, even if the critics didn’t give him any credit for it.” AMG “His faux-New Wave period behind him, Joel decided it was time to be taken seriously as an artist” DB and that “it was now time to mature, to move pop/rock into the middle age.” AMG

Joel “consciously crafting a song cycle about Baby Boomers in the Reagan era,” AMG making for “a fascinating cross between ear candy and social commentary.” AMG “His desire to record a grand concept album is admirable, but his ever-present lyrical shortcomings mean that the songs paint a picture without arriving at any insights.” AMG

“He scored with brooding, well-intentioned odes to Vietnam and Rust Belt unemployment” DB with Goodnight Saigon and Allentown respectively. The first half of the album – including those songs as well as Laura, Pressure, and She’s Right on Time –“ is layered, successful, mature pop that brings Joel tantalizingly close to his ultimate goal of sophisticated pop/rock for mature audiences.” AMG

However, “he occasionally gets lost in his own ambition, as on the waterlogged second side.” AMG In addition, “the Beatlesque art-pop that lords over the album was strained and overly stylized.” DB “Joel is naturally inclined to write big melodies like McCartney, but he idolizes Lennon.” AMG In the end, though, “Lennon and McCartney should never sound this labored.” DB “And be wary of any Billy Joel album with a song called Scandinavian Skies.” DB

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