‘Only the Good Die Young’ by Billy Joel was for a long time my absolute favorite song. The piano intro, the da-nah-nah, da-nah-nah beat, the emotion and intensity in Joel’s voice, the seemingly upbeat tone…then I became an adult and started to think, and overthink, about things, including song lyrics and what they mean, and after thinking about OTGDY I was unable to listen to it at all. I started to hate it. I turned the radio station when it came on and i didn’t put it on any of my favorite songs list in my iTunes library. In fact I had/have trouble listening to any Joel song because of this one’s lyrics.
‘You Catholic girls start much too late’ (as in Catholic girls wait too long to lose their virginity. the sooner the better Joel seems to be saying.
‘Sooner or later it comes down to fate, I might as well be the one’ (you will have sex eventually anyway, right? So why bother waiting until you meet the right guy and you’re ready. Have sex with me now!)
‘The stained glass window you’re hiding behind never lets in the sun’ (you can only find happiness with me, and only with me)
‘You didn’t count on me when you were counting on your rosary’ (no matter you do, or what ‘they’ do, as in your parents, I will find you and corrupt you)
‘You’re mother never cared for me but did she say a prayer for me’ (he is criticizing Virginia’s mother’s beliefs because she won’t pray for the boy who wants to hurt her daughter)
I know it is a theme in art. Men like a woman who doesn’t return the feelings and instead of accepting the women’s feelings and decision the man tries to beat the woman down emotionally until she “agrees” that she is not the woman she knew she was and relents and goes out with or has sex with the guy. Joel did this in Only the Good Die Young and also in Uptown Girl (the ‘Uptown Girl’ doesn’t get it that ‘downtown boys’ are better then the ‘whitebread’ boys she’s used to. Although curiously the downtown boy seems to know he is not good enough for the uptown girl because only when his ‘ship comes in’ will she understand that he is the better choice). I also faulted the girls who wouldn’t return my feelings when I was younger. Once I hit my late twenty’s I realized it was in fact me or the fault of no one.
I really resent this song, it’s lyric’s, Joel for thinking them and writing them and but myself for thinking about them because now i am finding it difficult to go back to liking Joel’s songs and he was always one of my favorite artists and made so many great songs that i loved listening to. I say I resent myself the most because I know in the big picture not I nor my opinions nor my feelings matter. “Well he doesn’t like so and so because so and so made a song about this? HaHa, so what.” So I’m going to try and convince myself to go back to liking Joel’s music because it used to make me happy listening to them.