Paul Nelson’s more-than-slightly vicious Rolling Stone review of Glass Houses concludes that Billy Joel‘s “material’s catchy. But then, so’s the flu.” What Nelson fails to note is that hearing the album is a good deal more fun than being sick. If you ask me, in fact, this is Joel’s most irresistible album to date: potent melodies, crisp instrumentation, clever turns of phrase, and lively, addictive hooks emanate from every track. Granted, my critical side notices considerable smugness in the lyrics and fabrication in the music. But I’ve always tried to balance intellectual analyses with instinctive reactions, and the bottom line for me is that this album repeatedly calls me back for more.