Billy Joel is a consummate, highly skilled storyteller in song. His songs always hit the mark in dealing with life, living, the human condition and relationships. He is so accurate and observant. His fame spread in the 1970s and 80s with his pop rock style of music and story-in-song melodies. He was real and knew how to put it across and appeal to a wide audience.
I appreciated how he made life situations come alive, but as music I didn’t like his albums that much. Some of his songs resounded more, in terms of how they sounded to me. But one I think I like. You’re Only Human (Second Wind) was included on Joel’s greatest hits album from 1985. The song’s not perfect, but it got me in the groove musically and thematically. It’s about that second wind of life that can come after the storms of life batter one around. Billy’s like the caring, world-weary uncle who is putting his arms around the audience especially those who feel jaded and lost by life. He’s telling us there’s a second wind that can come—and remember that.
Second winds or inspirations can save lives. It’s the moment when all things seem to be turning to custard but then from out the blue a wind of inspiration pulls one’s head from out of the blankets and gets one walking with a “spring in one’s step” again. It’s like God reaches down with the breath of life. Those moments can change minds for the better. As in the words of Christian rock band Petra, “Got my second wind. Spirit’s coming again. Got a new revelation, of the King of King’s.”