After over 20 years of not releasing new music, Billy Joel has finally returned with a new single called “Turn the Lights Back On.” When I saw the Spotify notification for his new song, I was extremely excited. I opened the app, hit play, and was hit with a wave of nostalgia from the style and lyrics of his song. I’m sure many of us have heard his most popular songs, such as “Uptown Girl,” “Vienna,” and “Piano Man.” In my opinion, “Turn the Lights Back On” is a blast to the past with how similar the new song is to his older classics. 

The song is about a lost love between two people, with one of them now hoping for a second chance. The theme of a second chance is not uncommon for Joel, just like his powerful use of the piano (I mean, he literally has a song called “Piano Man”). The song is just as emotional as songs like “She’s Always a Woman” and “Just The Way You Are.”  As someone who grew up with a family who loved Billy Joel, this new song immediately brought me back to car rides with my mom blasting Billy Joel. I love how nostalgic the song felt, and I think that is the true message Joel intended with the song.

That said, while this song seems on the surface to be about a lost love, those who are Billy Joel fans may have interpreted the song differently. I believe that this song was a way for Joel to connect with his older fans, to let them know that he hopes they will continue to support him even though he hasn’t released music in years. It seems obvious that he was aiming for nostalgia, with lyrics such as “Did I wait too long?” and “You’ve had enough, but I won’t give up on you.” He truly just wants to reconnect with his fans. 

To make the release of this song even better, Billy Joel performed this song with Laufey at the Grammys. If you haven’t heard of Laufey, first of all, what are you doing?! Secondly, she is a new upcoming artist who has a very similar emotional tune in many of her songs. I was SO shocked when I saw them play together. With Laufey’s beautiful playing of the cello, and Billy Joel on the piano, it was truly a sight to see and hear. My family group chat was blowing up with messages about Joel, as we had just had a Billy Joel karaoke competition on Christmas (that was my idea!).

If you haven’t already listened to Joel’s new song, I suggest it. Whether you are a lifelong fan or just discovering his music, “Turn the Lights Back On” invites you on a musical journey that transcends time. As the last note of the song lingers, one thing is for certain: Billy Joel’s legacy will continue to shine and impact future generations of musical artists.  

Freshman Paola Pardo is a Contributing Writer. Her email is ppardo@fandm.edu.

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