theWhen Amp Up The Drama Of One of Billy Joel's Most Dramatic Tunes
    • THURSDAY, MAY 28, 2015

    • Posted by: Don Saas

    I love Billy Joel. I saw him enchant the entirety of the Consol Center in Pittsburgh just last year and it's still devastating that I'm not going to be able to catch his headlining set at Bonnaroo this year. Can you imagine a 100,000 person sing-along to "Piano Man?" That shit would be magical. And Storm Front is my favorite Billy Joel record -- I know how much I'm in the minority there. And my favorite Billy Joel track on my favorite Billy Joel record has been "The Downeaster 'Alexa'" for pretty much as long as I can remember. It's an epic tale paired with some of Joel's most intense vocals, and I've always been a sucker for a song that tells a great story. And today I'm happy to share the premiere of theWhen's cover of "The Downeaster 'Alexa.'"

    Taking the synthy touchstones that marked much of Storm Front and amping them all up to 11, theWhen takes an already bombastic Joel tune and gives it an almost orgiastic intensity. With a guttural growl that's like a prog-metal Samuel T. Herring contrasted with a soaring tenor, theWhen's "Downeaster 'Alexa'" is a cover defined by alternating contrasts and tension. The Piano Man himself is playing Madison Square Garden tonight, and the When has done the living legend well.

    Be sure to check out theWhen at his record release show at Pianos on June 24th at 7 PM. You can buy tickets here.

    Also, be sure to check out the teaser for the upcoming video.

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