Summary

As one of the biggest-selling artists of all time, perhaps it was only a matter of time before Billy Joel was subjected to a romantically themed collection, and so came She's Got a Way: Love Songs, released just in time for Valentine's Day 2013. This 18-track collection reveals an odd truth about Joel: he didn't write all that many love songs. A few of his biggest hits are love songs but only a few: the early song "She's Got a Way," which wasn't a hit until its Songs in the Attic incarnation in the early '80s; "Just the Way You Are," an unabashedly romantic soft rock staple that helped make him a star in the mid-'70s; "This Is the Time," a gently nostalgic song from The Bridge; "The Night Is Still Young," an added cut to 1986's Greatest Hits, Vols. 1 & 2. And that's about it. Other hits here aren't really love songs -- "She's Always a Woman" is too nasty to be romantic ("she'll carelessly cut you and laugh while you're bleedin'"), "Honesty" isn't about love, nor is "An Innocent Man" -- and that's why this compilation relies so heavily on album tracks, usually from early Billy Joel albums. That is where Joel wrote about love, when he had a "Travelin' Prayer" and declared to his lover "You're My Home." He had other love songs later, including "Shameless," which Garth Brooks turned into a standard, but the overall impression left by She's Got a Way is that love songs are not Billy's forte. Which isn't to say this isn't an enjoyable collection: there are many good songs here -- all the aforementioned tunes, along with "Until the Night" -- and it's a good collection of Joel's moodier, slower, melodic numbers. It just doesn't quite deliver on the romance it promises. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine