The aptly titled “Turn the Lights Back On” will hit streaming services on Feb. 1, and will also be released on limited edition 7-inch vinyl. Per The Guardian, it was co-written by Joel and pop producer Freddy Wexler, who’s written for the likes of Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Jonas Brothers. Additional writers include Wayne Hector and Arthur Bacon.
A press release for the new song describes it as “a classic Billy Joel-style tune” that will “[embody] the hallmarks of his signature sound” and “[usher] in the next chapter of his story.” No word yet on whether that means a full album is on the way, but this seems like a promising first step.
Joel, 74, first hinted at his comeback in a very “modern pop star” way: last month, he launched a TikTok. His first post on the platform was a video of him on stage teasing new material.
“I have good news, I have bad news, I’ll give you the bad news first,” he says in the clip. “We don’t have anything new to play for you. The good news is you don’t have to sit through something you have no idea what it is! Although … we got a little something we’re working on you might hear some time.”
Joel’s last new solo release came in 2007 with the one-off single “All My Life.” That year, he also dropped a holiday track, “Christmas in Fallujah,” with Cass Dillon. His last studio album, meanwhile, came in 2001 with Fantasies & Delusions, a collection of his classical compositions. It’s been more than 30 years since his last pop record, 1993’s River of Dreams.
However, he hasn’t been entirely out of the spotlight in that time. Joel is on the tail end of his record-breaking residency at Madison Square Garden, where he’s played once a month since January 2014. He’ll wrap up his run there with his 150th show this July.