Considering he started with "Attila" ("Revenge Is Sweet") and he couldn't actually say then he was from "hicksville" (even though he was from that place surveyed and settled by Quakers) "yeah man and I'm from alphaville" he has made an interesting foray and sortie into contemporary music, that kid from the Bronx. I can see how some people see his music as irritable but sometimes two wrights make an airplane and it helps take the edge off of other "irritational" music, that's from a different dialect, ideas, stories, pitches for sale etc., sold as "inspirational" but a matter of taste.
Many years ago, in 1974 I think, Michael Tilson Thomas, currently the Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, then a young conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, had a concert that played what is considered the crossover works that have influenced "rock and roll" which was followed by a new piece for orchestra by guitarist John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, a piece later recorded by the London Symphony.
When I listen to a part of Billy Joel's repertoire, I also hear that, parts of classical music that influence his creations. I suspect the "irritation" results from timeworn perhaps parts of our shared musical experiences that are turned around, upside down and lyrically playfully played with, as esthetic information, different from "noise". Or for that matter "Silence". The Fray The Spectator The awfulness of Billy Joel, explained. Billy Joel with Attila