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The Delphi

The Student News Site of Delaware Valley Regional High School

The Delphi

The Student News Site of Delaware Valley Regional High School

The Delphi

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Piano Man “Turns the Lights Back On”

Billy Joel releases new single after 17 years
Album+art+for+Billy+Joel%E2%80%99s+new+single+%E2%80%9CTurn+the+Lights+Back+On.%E2%80%9D
Columbia Records
Album art for Billy Joel’s new single “Turn the Lights Back On.”

On Feb. 1, Billy Joel released his first new single in 17 years, “Turn the Lights Back On.”

Throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, Joel was a prolific contributor to the pop-rock industry. His last album song, “Famous Last Words” signified the end of an era for Joel. However, it did suggest that he was not entirely done composing.

Joel returned to producing new music with a somewhat unexpected pop single that he debuted at the Grammys

This new song is complex and symbolic. It tells the story of a regret-filled relationship while simultaneously expressing the story of Joel’s relationship with music. 

The first verse describes a couple that is too proud to grow, which in turn leads to a painful redundancy. At the end of the verse, the protagonist admits “I was wrong,” displaying he’s ready to change.

This can be paralleled to Joel’s relationship with his audience. It’s known that he has avoided composing for fear of not meeting his own standards. Verse one pinpoints this sense of pride.

Do you like Billy Joel’s new song?

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Then, the first chorus arrives with a passage of time. The protagonist revisits the relationship with clarity and desperation. This aligns with Joel’s fear that he may have waited too long to return to composing, in turn, making him obsolete.

The second verse shows the protagonist feeling like an outsider in their relationship or, in Joel’s case, his industry. It later shows this character’s growth by his readiness to face potential rejection.

Then, the chorus comes again, and this time the lyrics are sung in a more profound tone.

Joel follows with a classic piano solo, giving listeners a moment to reflect on the intensifying mood. 

Finally, the chorus is repeated once more flowing into the outro. Here, the themes of reconciliation and regret are revisited. It is apparent that both the protagonist and Joel are searching for acceptance as they ask one final time if it was too late to “turn the lights back on?”

Personally, I believe it was not too late for him to revisit composing. This is an emotional and reflective song that sounds very much like classic Billy Joel. 

It mixes the romantic, accepting themes of “Just the Way You Are” with the pianic instrumentals of “Piano Man” and the overall rhythm and feel of “She’s Always a Woman.”

All in all, Billy Joel’s latest song is definitely worth a listen.

4/5 stars.

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About the Contributor
Emma Haig
Emma Haig, Social Media Editor

Emma Haig is a freshman at Del Val, and this is her first year writing for 'The Delphi". She plays volleyball for the school, as well as for CJVA. In her spare time, she enjoys rewatching "Modern Family", carrying her dog Stewie Bob on his ‘walks’ and spending time at LBI. Before she was a student at Del Val, she attended Kingwood Township School.

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    A.C.Feb 28, 2024 at 7:15 pm

    Great job Emma. You know how I feel about a Billy Joel so I love the fact that you wrote about him.

    Reply