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Review: Billy Joel releases ‘Turn the Lights Back On,’ his first new single in decades

On February 1st, Billy Joel released “Turn the Lights Back On,” which is his first new radio single in decades.

Billy Joel
Billy Joel. Photo Courtesy of Myrna Suarez
Billy Joel. Photo Courtesy of Myrna Suarez

On February 1st, Billy Joel released “Turn the Lights Back On,” which is his first new radio single in decades.

This new single, released on Columbia Records, is available on digital service providers, as well as on a limited-edition of vinyl. The song’s lyric video may be seen below.

Collaboration with Freddy Wexler

It was produced by Grammy-nominated songwriter Freddy Wexler, who co-wrote it with Billy Joel, Arthur Bacon, and Wayne Hector.

As a musician and producer, Freddy Wexler has worked with everybody from Ariana Grande to Justin Bieber to Kanye West to Pink to Selena Gomez and Celine Dion.

He first alluded to this song via a post on TikTok, which followed his debut on the TikTok social media platform.

With “Turn the Lights Back On,” Billy Joel proves that he only gets better with age and experience. It has a retro ’80s vibe to it, and it feels like his music picked up where he last left off in the mid-’90s. There are elements of nostalgia to it, especially since this tune encompasses the hallmarks of his popular sound and tone.

The lyrics are conservational but not contrived. “Did I wait too long… to turn the lights back on?” Joel sings.

Upcoming Grammy Awards performance

Billy Joel and his live band will be debuting “Turn the Lights Back On” live at this year’s Grammy Award ceremony, which will be broadcast on February 4 on CBS and Paramount +.

This new Billy Joel collaboration with Freddy Wexler is a match made in musical heaven. There is a rawness and authenticity to it like no other.

Speaking of the Grammy Awards, Joel’s mantel already holds six Grammy Awards (out of 23 career Grammy nominations), and he is both a Kennedy Center Honoree, a Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

Billy Joel: An illustrious career in music

Throughout his respected career in the music industry, Joel has sold over 160 million albums worldwide, a milestone which makes him as the “fourth best-selling solo artist in the United States.” He is affectionately known as the “Piano Man,” and rightfully so.

Judging from the quality of “Turn the Lights Back On,” Billy Joel ought to make more room for future Grammy hardware. This one is another keeper.

In the meantime, Joel continues to perform his monthly residency at Madison Square Garden, which will wrap up on July 25, 2024.

“Turn the Lights Back On” is available on digital service providers by clicking here. It garners two thumbs up.

To learn more about Billy Joel, check out his official website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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