On the heels of three multi-platinum albums and a commercial breakthrough, Joel released Songs in the Attic to both tide fans over until 1982's The Nylon Curtain as well to feature material in a looser, warmer setting. The record highlights not only the singer's consistency and knack for indelible melodies, but savvy live techniques. Upbeat tunes such as "Everybody Loves You Now" receive a more fleshed-out treatment that yields added punch and swagger, while balladic numbers like "I've Loved These Days" take on a cozy warmth akin to the feeling of putting on a sweater on a cool fall day.
Songs in the Attic also bridged the gap for listeners for whom Joel was then a new entity, as many didn't come to his music until The Stranger. Hence, tracks like "Captain Jack" and "The Ballad of Billy the Kid," from Piano Man, get a fresh identity, particularly courtesy of a backing band that, by then, had been gigging with Joel for years. No wonder that, unlike a majority of live records, Songs in the Attic yielded two Top 40 pop hits: "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" and "She's Got a Way." No matter from what angle it's viewed, the set stands as one of the most important and enjoyable live records ever released.