Bruce vs. Billy Joel

It's interesting that you describe Only the Good Die Young as"kind of like early Springsteen with a massive, embarrassing boner." The critical difference between OTGDY and the obvious early-Bruce comparisons -- Rosalita and Thunder Road, I'd say -- is that in the Bruce ones, both in the music and the lyrics, there's a sense of breaking out, and escape (hardly an orginal Bruce-based insight, I know) that makes the song transcend the immediate situation. He makes it feel like if Rosie will just come out of her daddy's house, or if Mary will just, well, come out of her daddy's house, they'll not only get to have sex, but it'll open up a whole new set of possibilities for their lives. Not to be too cheese-ball here, but it's not just about trying to get a girl to sleep with you, it's about trying to get a girl to save you, pretentious Catholicism-based attempts to turn Bruce into CS Lewis or whatever not withstanding. OTGDY, by contrast, really is about Billy Joel's pathetic and probably failed attempts to get Belinda, or whatever her name is, to shag him -- and nothing else. Even the musical scheme, like all BJ's musical schemes, feels to this musical illiterate like a Gilbert and Sullivan song or something, not like any kind of call to arms.

The other thing is that any song in which Billy Joel declares "you might have heard I run with a dangerous crowd," is just hilarious on so many levels.