Roth vs. Roth

Yeah, that's kind of what I meant when I made the (facile) Bruce comparison: a more spelled-out version would be "early Springsteen with the soulfulness and romance replaced by a kind of crude teenage-boy sexuality." You could argue that "Thunder Road" and "Only the Good Die Young" are the two faces of adolescence: the overweening and pretentious but basically lovable romanticism (Springsteen) and the boorish date-rapist horniness (Joel). Incidentally, probably the thing I love the most about early Bruce is that it puts me back in touch with those sweet teenage feelings. I should stop now before I start talking about the hope that stings like chlorine and Sasha Frere-Jones kicks my ass.

By the way: Billy Joel's Catholic-schoolgirl prey was named not Belinda but Virginia, an instance of symbolic naming that I bet Billy Joel was really pleased with.

Also, bear in mind that Joel's "dangerous crowd" was in fact guilty only of excessive laughter -- a form of delinquency that most parents could surely overlook.