Earsnag: Billy Joel’s “Vienna”

“Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about? You’d better cool it off before you burn it out.
You’ve got so much to do and only so many hours in a day.”

I’m a huge Billy Joel fan. I think the man is great, without a doubt, one of the most talented artists in the industry. I was lucky enough to see him in concert a few weeks ago. The stadium was packed with people of many ages; I could feel the buzzing elation of all who were there that night.

There were three elderly ladies a few rows down from me, leaning over the balcony with their arms around each other, sporting Billy Joel t-shirts and dancing and singing and screaming. He’s almost 65, has been in the business for 50 years, and that dude can still rock.

I could rave about him for days, but I’ll get to the point: One of the best songs that I had the privilege of watching him perform was “Vienna.” I’ve always loved the song, but I’ve developed an even deeper appreciation for it after seeing it live. Joel can amaze all with his piano and voice alone, but it’s the lyrics that truly showcase his star quality.

“Slow down, you’re doing fine. You can’t be everything you want to be before your time.”

Every single line in this song is raw with honesty. Think about it — we’re all in such a damn rush to grow up, we could be missing everything wonderful that’s happening around us today. We all feel like we have to get everything we want, right now. We have to go, go, go; there is no stopping for fear of falling short.

“Slow down, you crazy child, and take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while. It’s all right, you can afford to lose a day or two.”

Sometimes we forget how blessed we are. Cliché, cheesy…I know. But I happen to think I’m right (and if I think I’m right, I must be. Right?). Not taking the most important things in our lives for granted is something most of us struggle with. Devoting a bit of time here and there to catching up with a loved one might just be the most imperative action we ever take.

“When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?”

So slow down, just for a little while. Call your mom, call your dad, call your best friend, call your brother whom you haven’t seen in a year. Tell them how much they mean to you. We simply can’t lose sight of who we are and who we love while we’re making our dreams come true.

Check out Billy Joel’s album, The Stranger, available on iTunes.