The Piano Man Sings Another Melody in 2024, and It’s Everything I Hoped For

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It’s safe to say Billy Joel is my favorite musical artist—I have seen him three times (and counting) in concert, of course. Some of my fondest memories include listening to “Uptown Girl” on my iPod and my brother and I singing our hearts out to “We Didn’t Start the Fire” when Joel visited Notre Dame University in 2022. So when the “Piano Man” announced he was releasing his first song in almost 20 years, one can just imagine my immense excitement. Ultimately, Joel lit a flame of nostalgia inside of me with “Turn the Lights Back On.”

Released on Feb. 1, 2024, “Turn the Lights Back On” continues the familiar and captivating vibe Joel has curated over his extraordinary musical career. The love ballad reminds me of “Honesty” and “You’re My Home,” two of my favorite classic Joel love songs. The song is extremely catchy and emotionally moving. Additionally, Joel’s voice is as beautiful and pure as ever, which I can personally attest to from listening to him at his concerts. 

Joel said he retired from songwriting and producing new music after his 1993 album “River of Dreams” catalog did not get as much attention as his previous work, and he had run into a drinking problem, according to People Magazine. Although I am sad “River of Dreams” discouraged Joel from stop making music for so long (“Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel)” and “No Man’s Land” are seriously underrated), I am so glad he has “turned the lights back on” in the recording studio and turned his drinking issue around. His fans have truly missed his work and are genuinely excited to have a new song on our playlists. 

In addition to being a passionate love song, “Turn the Lights Back On” also feels like it is an apology to Joel’s fans for his absence from the studio. The chorus says, “I’m late, but I’m here right now / And I’m tryin’ to find the magic / That we lost somehow / Maybe I was blind / But I see you now / As we’re layin’ in the darkness / Did I wait too long / To turn the lights back on?” I love how Joel decided to give his ballad a deeper meaning which speaks to fans directly, as I think it is a nod to how much he appreciates us.

And to Mr. Joel, directly: Your fans eagerly accept your apology. Please keep making and releasing new music. Your songs are special to millions of people across the world. And, I’d love more songs to sing along to at my fourth (or is it fifth?) concert of yours!

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