Billy Joel's music video for 'Turn the Lights Back On' featuring his past selves is beautifully clever

22 February 2024, 15:07

Billy Joel's new music video
Billy Joel's new music video. Picture: Billy Joel

By Tom Eames

Billy Joel, the legendary singer-songwriter known for his timeless hits and captivating performances, has taken fans on a journey through time with the release of a remarkable video clip.

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Using cutting-edge AI technology, the clip seamlessly transitions between different eras of Billy Joel's illustrious career, showcasing the evolution of his persona and music style.

The visual journey begins with the early-70s 'Piano Man' Joel, characterized by his bushy hair and smoky ambience, likely fueled by countless cigarettes.

This era reflects a young artist finding his voice amidst the backdrop of a rapidly changing music scene. Fast forward to the late '80s, and we encounter Storm Front Joel, whose concerns shifted from the trivialities of everyday life to more profound themes, perhaps symbolized by his struggles with fame and personal challenges.

The transition continues into the early '90s, where we meet River of Dreams Joel, sporting sunglasses indoors and exuding a carefree attitude. This phase of Joel's career saw him exploring new sounds and experimenting with his image while maintaining his signature storytelling style.

Finally, the journey culminates in present-day Joel, a seasoned veteran of the music industry, who radiates confidence and satisfaction with his latest musical offering.

Billy Joel - Turn the Lights Back On (Official Video)

The highlight of the video is a montage featuring all four iterations of Joel, united in song and spirit. This powerful moment captures the essence of Joel's enduring legacy and the timeless appeal of his music. The sweeping effect of the montage mirrors the emotional depth and richness of the song itself, creating a truly unforgettable experience for viewers.

Earlier this month, Billy Joel showcased the song live for the first time at the Grammys, further cementing its place in music history. His choice of attire, a leather jacket reminiscent of his Storm Front days, served as a nostalgic nod to his iconic past while embracing the present moment.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Joel reflected on his evolving approach to songwriting and the shifting dynamics of success and criticism. Gone are the days of stressing over chart positions and critical reception; instead, Joel focuses on the joy of creating music for its own sake. As he aptly puts it, "I just sang a song. That's it. If they like it, great. If they don't, it doesn't mean that it isn't good."

With this latest release, Billy Joel proves once again why he remains a true icon of the music industry, transcending generations with his timeless melodies and heartfelt lyrics. As fans eagerly await what the future holds, one thing is certain: the legacy of Billy Joel will continue to resonate for years to come.