Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers

Palm Sweaty And The Fartbreakers?
*special introductory paragraph!
*Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
*You're Gonna Get It
*Damn The Torpedoes
*Hard Promises
*Long After Dark
*Southern Accents
*Pack Up The Plantation: Live!
*"Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)"
*Full Moon Fever
*Into The Great Wide Open
*Greatest Hits
*Playback
*Wildflowers
*Songs And Music From The Motion Picture She's The One
*Echo
*The Last DJ
*Highway Companion
*Mudcrutch
*Mudcrutch: Extended Play Live EP
*The Live Anthology (Deluxe Edition)
*Mojo
The inheritor of the rock and roll dream! When he and his band of Heartbreakers (not Johnny Thunders' Heartbreakers) ripped out of Gator Swamp country Florida (or California, or wherever the hell they lived when they hit it big), Tom Petty was bringing rock and roll back to what it had been in the mid-sixties - straight-ahead driving goodtime catchy music without hippy artistic aspirations. Pretty much The Ramones without the metallic influence and punk attitude, you ask? Yeah! But Petty wasn't out to smash your nose in; he was more of a straight up nice hook-writing chorus-singing rock and roll guitarist guy. But his songs were good! Very good! And stripped down! And better than The Eagles! And that's why you still hear them all the darn time on classic rock radio. As for where he went, well... He sorta got overpowered by acousticy folk rock near the end of the eighties, but that's okay. He's getting older and he knows it. Regardless, even today, twenty years after his rockin' debut, he still writes enough catchy and memorable tunes for each album (with the obvious nod to his influences - Dylan, Byrds, etc, every now and yesterday) to make you nod your head and go, "Alright, Tom! Yeah!" Possibly even "Whoo!"

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - Shelter 1976.
Rating = 8


Don't have a clue what to say about these first five albums; they're all pretty much interchangable, as far as I'm concerned. Really good, though! Simple lil' three-minute guitar-driven rock and roll tunes - some better than others, but hey when you're just playing good ol' no-frills "rock'n'roll," that's to be expected. Not much of an "image" really, although the pictures on the back certainly present Stan Lynch as a hot sex-hungry loverman, and Ron Blair as an addled heroin addict. Just more like, you know, not glam or nothin' - just rock and roll! Write your melodies, play your 4/4 beats and get on with your life! Tom has kind of a nasally voice (my girlfriend says he sounds constipated), but you might grow to like it. I have! He can hit notes; I guess that's the important thing. I really would say that this album fits in somewhere BETWEEN the new wave/punk scene of '76 and the overblown arena rock sound of the same era. By no means were the Heartbreakers punk rockers, but they certainly had the same memories of mid-'60s rock and roll that the best punk bands had. No ten-minute drum solos or guitar pyrotechnics on here. Just straight up good time yeah. The hits were "Breakdown" and "American Girl," but there are plenty of other great tracks on here too. If you're still into vinyl car seats, look in dollar bins and eventually you'll find this record like I did.
Reader Comments

mcostendorf@mcn.net (Mark and Christina Ostendorf)
This is a very solid first effort, although I enjoy the live versions of Breakdown and American girl on Pack up the Plantation quite a bit better than these studio version. The songs kind of have a stripped down sound, the piano and guitars sound fairly acoustic. The exception would be "Strangered in the Night", which has a more heavily produced studio sound, and sounds like it belongs on the next album "You're Gonna get It". I'd also have to gripe that Tom sounds like a little kid with a cold on most of these songs, but hey, he was a kid! BUT, all the songs seem to contain a lot of true passion and emotion, which I feel he has totally lacked since the Let Me Up album, where everything sounds like he's trying to please critcs. It has fun, bouncy rockers like "Hometown Blues", "Anything That's Rock and Roll", and the classic "American Girl" - this song was a great example of the original sound that Mike Campbell would give to the Heartbreakers for years to come. Even the quirky songs like "Mystery Man", and "Luna" are good, and fit well with "Breakdown". "Fooled Again" is a very good, powerful track, with emotionally charged vocals. I'd disagree about all the first 5 albums being similar, this album sounds like a band unsure of what it wants to be, and Let Me Up definitely heads of in a different direction, with an obviously slick, late 70's city sound - Just look at how they're dressed on the album cover, they look like lounge lizards crossed with glam rockers!! It's a unusual, eclectic album, and a good one, but since I'm going to compare it with their others, I'd give it a 5 out of 10.

Sharonabe@aol.com
The first album might sound a little raw and unpolished but you could hear the promise of what was to come. The guys just had to grow up a little more and move toward their common groove that they were soon to find. The rest is HISTORY!

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayebagha)
I guess I agree with the rating.

I must say though, "American Girl" and "Breakdown" ARE the best songs on this one, even if the former is really different class.

I also enjoy the moment when the solo first kicks in on that sixth track with the stupid title. It reminds me of Bryan Adams, so it's pretty funny.

Okay, I probably should take back that first statement, I don't know if "Breakdown" is that much more special than a few of the other unmentioned tracks... But it has a really good chorus. "Luna" is too stupid.

matthewbyrd@hotmail.com
Um well, I think it should be said that "American Girl" is possibly one of the greatest pop singles ever released. Kinda like a lot of brilliant CCR singles, just great 3 min long pop singles.

Add your thoughts?


You're Gonna Get It - Shelter 1978.
Rating = 8


Aaaaaah, the Heartbreakers. You go ahead and rave about the New York Dolls if you want, but Too Much Too Soon had NOTHIN' on these tunes. So Mike Campbell wasn't a cross-dressing heroin addict (as far as I know) - so what? Oh, sorry! Mike is the Heartbreakers' guitarist. Which reminds me - why were there two different bands called the Heartbreakers? Somebody explain.

But about the record. More of the same. If you love catchy guitar pop rock with a slight American twang to it, You Gotta Get It! Their melodies don't always rule, I'll give you that. But only a couple of tracks on each of these early records could really be called "filler." You know, sometimes the riffs are a little duff or whatever. Or they try to be heavier or moodier than they really should. But for the most part, what you get on these records is track after tune of radio-ready r'n'r fun. The sort of stuff Mark E. Smith would claim to despise and then try to imitate anyway. Tom sings about romance gone bad, romance gone good and rock and roll gone rockin'! And... not much else. But those Heartbreakers. They work together. Nice electric guitar-driven rock and roll sound. Again, no frills. No Van Halen. Just pop tunes. The hits were "Listen To Her Heart" and (supposedly) "I Need To Know," but you know there's plenty more where those came from.

Reader Comments

mcostendorf@mcn.net (Mark and Christina Ostendorf)
This album sounds like MCA told the band to establish a sound, and they obliged, but it does not have the musical style of the next three albums, the rhythms are a bit more steady, driving and even on this album. This album has a more polished sound, and Tom's vocals are more skilled and restrained than on the first album (though he sounds like a depressed drunk crying in his beer on some). It sounds like the band spent a lot more time in the studio on this one, only "Baby's a Rock 'N' Roller has the raw, live unpracticed sound of the songs on the first album. The songs are all very similar, about 3 minutes long, all have catchy beginnings, steady driving (and good) guitar chords, and very enjoyable hooky choruses. They all seem to be based on the band's love life, with pain being the operative word here. For example, here's a line from "No Second Thoughts", "She took off her golden band, crushed it with her feet into the sand." It's hard to pick out any one song, as all are almost equally good. "When the Time Comes", "Listen to Her Heart", and "Restless" probably stand out the most, but the title track, "Too Much Ain't Enough", "I Need to Know", and "No Second Thoughts" are right there as well. The album flows really well, but it is overall a bit of a downer - it could use at least one truly positive, thoughtless rocker. All criticisms aside though, this is a very consistent, listenable album. It falls short in the "hit single" regard, but as an album it comes up big, and I'd give it an 8.

richbunnell@home.com
I wasn't expecting this album to be so good, but it is indeed pretty much the same as his other early albums. I was expecting a surprise from Tom Petty, I think this makes me officially the biggest idiot ever. Anyway, this one is mostly really good, except for the three songs in the middle of Side 1, which are okay but a bit less than great. The title track, for one, seems like an empty blueprint for "Don't Do Me Like That"(which almost wasn't included on the next album), mixing a kind-of-catchy chorus with empty-sounding verses. The rest is AWESOME, though! Even though thanks to Greatest Hits the mighty duo of "I Need To Know" and "Listen To Her Heart" will inevitably stand out to the average listener, allow me to sing the praises of "When The Time Comes," "Restless" and "Baby's A Rock 'N' Roller." AWESOME songs. AWESOME. They should've been standards too, but by law no Tom Petty album's allowed to have more than two hits unless it's Damn The Torpedoes or one of his alleged "solo albums." Anyway, I know this is a completely bizarre and unexpected grade to give to a Petty album, but I give it an eight. I know, it's so weird.

halbert@utc.msstate.edu
The second effort from T.P. & the Heartbreakers has the band heading in the right direction with more versatility than the previous debut. The opening cut " When the Time Comes" is a good kick-off to the album. "You're gonna get it " follows and it sounds like it was a hold-over from the first album. I find it strange that none of the previous reviews of this album mentioned the song "Hurt". The song starts off with a fade-up of the instruments followed by Petty's acoustic guitar strumming the main beat. The song tells of the band's travels through California and a relationship with someone who caused some hurt. Great lyrics like "10;45 , halfway to L.A., red in the eye, you might be the devil, might just be his friend, it don't make no difference, you ain't getting it again, that's right you hurt me baby, hurt me good, hurt me like no one else ever could",Also the tempo changes during the song so it's not the regular menotinous rhythm throughout the whole tune. Next is another cut not mentioned previously called "Magnolia". A fine cut indeed with piano and guitar interplay throughout. The two most fast paced rockers follow next "Too much ain't enough" features some fine guitar soloing from Mike Campbell and "the cut "I Need to Know" is a concert staple for the band. I remember seeing Stevie Nicks in concert, and she did a cover of this tune.

"Listen to her heart" was released as a single, but I prefer the swagger of the cut "Restless" to that one. "No Second Thoughts" is a nice little acoustic number that contains a good line "Dreams fade, hope dies hard", The word baby is used so many times on this album, that you can't keep count of it.

After a couple of years touring larger venues and some record company cash advancements, the band shows improvement and promise for future releases. Overall I like this release better than the previous record and most of the following albums. I give it a "9"

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Damn The Torpedoes - Backstreet/MCA 1979.
Rating = 8


This is probably the best loved Heartbreakers album, but I don't really see what makes it any better than the others. More hits, maybe, but then the other ones really deserved to have more hits, if you query me on the matter! I guess MCA might have let Tom pump a little more cash into the recording sessions (the mix is a lot fuller than on the first two albums), and he's certainly trying some new approaches to the rock and roll thing, adding in more dynamics and whatnot, but the songwriting genius had already been there, so what the hell? Just like the others, this one's got a bunch of great tunes and a few weak ones. Fine! The hits were "Refugee" (first Petty song I ever heard! I was five.), "Here Comes My Girl," "Even The Losers" and "Don't Do Me Like That." A couple of countrified numbers sorta make my eye twitch, since it's not really Tom's cup of tea and his voice sounds totally hicky against that sort of backdrop, but whatever. Still a really cool album. How's about that understated piano accompaniment? Never overwhelming, but always there, adding just a touch of melodic class to the guitar crankin'. That's Benmont Tench for you, I tell you what!
Reader Comments

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
A bit too overplayed for me.

mcostendorf@mcn.net (Mark and Christina Ostendorf)
This is the album that defined Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Though not really any better than the following albums, this album had songs that really appealed to numerous demographics, rural, city, blue collar working class etc., and helped ensure the Heartbreakers place in musical history. I feel it really established the Heartbreaker sound, which I'll take a shot at defining. The Heartbreakers are a Rock and Roll band first, but influences of Blues Country (even bluegrass), Folk, and the synchopated rhythms of Southern Rock bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd all seem to contribute the the bands sound (on it's stalwart albums). Stan Lynch on the Drums and Benmont Tench on the keyboards really make this album stand out. "Refugee" is a great, raw sounding, passionate classic, and "Even the Losers" is right there as well. "Don't Do Me Like That" is simply wonderful, and anyone would love the song. It's amazingly simple, yet it's sheer musical genius. This album also is where Tom establishes his ability to come up with great melodic American Folk/Rock songs, as "American Girl" foreshadowed on the first album. Some of the songs ("You Tell Me", "What are You Doing in my Life") seem to be leftover's from the depressed "those damn women" theme of the previous album, and are a bit tiring for that reason. "Shadow of a Doubt" is an excellent energetic song as well, with a really clever chorus. Louisiana Rain, a solid blues/country song, is a good and surprising ending to the album, and adds to the overall package. If this album doesn't get your blood pumping by the time you've finished Refugee, you better check yourself for a pulse. "It's great songwriting, raw and passionate, and I give this album a 9.

richbunnell@home.com
Sorry to go along with the masses, Mark, but I can separate this from most of Petty's early stuff quite easily. The classics stand out more than on any other album and this one probably has the strongest non-single material of any of Petty's albums (except maybe Full Moon Fever, but I'll give this one the benefit). "Refugee," "Even The Losers," and "Don't Do Me Like That" are GRRRRRRRREAT songs ("Refugee" has the most memorable chorus Petty ever penned, for my money), "What're You Doing In My Life" and "You Tell Me" are fine rock songs, and "Here Comes My Girl," though I don't see exactly how it became such a hit, has really well-written backing instrumentation. I was also surprised by the little interludes between some of the tracks-- they really add to the experience in my opinion. Why couldn't he do that on his later albums? My only complaint is that it's too short, but otherwise it's around a high 8 for me.

tom_chipman@msn.com
Hi (again) Mark,

I'm off work this week and have already gotten bored (and scared) of the bars so I've been reading your interviews and reviews most of the day for the last 2 days while my wife's at work (talk about no life). While I could comment on many things, it would take away from the time I'd have to keep reading, but here's one for the Tom Petty "Damn the Torpedoes" review that I hope you'll like:

I was in 7th grade when Torpedoes was still current within a year, and I had a paper route which was a great job because I listened to tapes on my walkman in their entirety, and fortunately never got run over by some fucked up after-hours people when crossing the street.

Maybe I have something wrong with me, but Torpedoes scared the living shit out of me, walking around at 5 am. The abrasiveness of Petty's voice on this one, combined with the musicianship (particularly the organ) create this atmosphere like you're in Kentucky or something and some chick's dad's about to jump out from behind the bushes and blow your head off with a 12 gauge.

Everything from "Here Comes my Girl" (hit) and You Tell Me (non-hit) still make it the best thing he's done in my opinion (although other releases had individual songs that were maybe better- "Change of Heart", "I Need to Know", "Climb That Hill", etc.). Or maybe it's because there were no IPODS back then, and FF and rewind wore the batteries out, or ate the tape, so it was safer to just keep it playing.

Obviously something like Diane off Husker Du Metal Circus is ACTUALLY scary but by that time I quit my paper route to get a real job as a stock boy at a convenience store.

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Hard Promises - Backstreet/MCA 1981.
Rating = 8


Maybe I'm not raving enough. Yes, these first five albums are pretty similar to each other, but they're also EXTREMELY consistent. Consider where we are in the history of rock and roll music. By 1981, rock and roll was like 25 years old or something - it had gone through so many darn changes that it would just seem as if normal basic 4/4 bar rock should have already died. I mean, with punk and art rock and Springsteen's overblown rebel rock, what place did Hard Day's Night-type mid-'60s rock have in our jaded society? And more importantly, how the hell did Tom and Mike come up with so many great three-chord melodies? Seriously now - five albums worth of competent catchy singalongable basic everyday rock and roll. With creative riffs! How? Foreigner couldn't do it. REO Speedwagon couldn't do it. The Ramones did it, but they were too loud and fast for the mainstream's supple earsacs. So why the Heartbreakers? Because Tom is a talented guy who loves melodic rock and roll and has dedicated his life to bringing more of it into the world for us to enjoy - that's why, goddammit. And if you don't like Tom, fine. I wasn't exactly thrilled with that whole "Peace In L.A." PR shit either. Still, open your hearts to the vibes, man!

Hard Promises is more of the great same. A little of this, a little of that, with a couple of fantastic radio smashes in "The Waiting" (featured in that Simpsons episode about Homer buying a gun) and "A Woman In Love," which is subtitled "(It's Not Me)" for no reason that I can understand on my own without the help of a special smart person who understands such things. Ah, what am I whining about? What was the point of putting "(With You)" in parentheses in "Rockin' Around (With You)"? I just don't understand big rock stars anymore, the pretentious groupie users. Sorry I can't say anything else about this album, but like I said, these first five albums all sound pretty similar to my ears (well, the first two aren't mixed quite as strongly, but that's about it). So take 'em home and dig 'em all!

Reader Comments

richbunnell@home.com
Kind of underwhelming after Torpedoes, but still a great rock album. The highlights to me are the two hits (It was a huge surprise hearing "The Waiting" come completely out of nowhere on that Simpsons episode, but it was incredibly well-used) plus "You Can Still Change Your Mind," but most of the album is pretty consistent. My only complaint is that it doesn't really hit any huge heights - it just churns out midtempo rocker after midtempo rocker, even if they're all pretty much great (especially "A Thing About You".) Probably an eight.

nedster66@telus.net (Arlene Ned)
I was 14 years old when tom Petty came out with hard promisses, I remember going with my father to the store to buy the record. I did like a few songs on it. I liked them for it's beat. I wasn't your disgo or pop young girl I should have been! I liked reo speed wagon, tom petty and all the clasic rock people. After awhile my father got tired of the record and put it in the closit. I never heard it til years later after I had moved out. My room mate baught it and I did like it but not as much as I used to. Years later I found Tom petty winy. His voice wasn't the greatest but I didn't care. Now, I can tollerate him but I too find some of his music boaring. thanks and Have a good day!

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Long After Dark - Backstreet/MCA 1982.
Rating = 8


More of the same, which is a good thing, because after this one, it would (sigh) never be the same again. A mid to uptempo 4/4 beat, rockin' guitar line with some notes and chords, a singalongable chorus - this is American rock music at its simplest and finest. And yeah, Tom branched out a couple of times per album with a slower keyboardish piece or a faster punkish number or a ballad or something, but, for these first five albums at least, you could always count on the boys to concentrate mainly on what they knew best. Which is my lengthy way of saying that if you think "You Got Lucky" is an ugly unlikeable hit single, don't worry about it, because nothing else on here sounds like that one. The other hit was "Change Of Heart," which is frigging catchy as hell, so keep that in the back of your car.

I'm just gonna examine Tom's lyrics for a second here, since I really haven't addressed them at all thus far. Let's see. Girls, freedom, romance gone bad, more freedom, more romance gone bad, loneliness, optimism in a bad relationship, uncertainty, girls in trouble - man, this is just rock and roll! It's not poetry, and does not need to be examined. Let's move on.

Reader Comments

cshin@aecom.ye.edu (Cathy Shin)
I'm glad to see that you don't follow most of the "music critics" on rating Long After Dark much lower than the previous early Petty. This is one of my favorite albums. Nothing like singing along with "Change of Heart" in the car to psych yourself up after breaking up with someone. Actually, the cover "Feel A Whole Lot Better" (Full Moon Fever) is good for that, too. Plus, "Straight Into Darkness" will make you cry after said breakup. Tom's no poetic genius (that's Bob Dylan) but no one is better to take on a long car trip in the summer so you can sing along. The ultimate stuff to take to a desert island - you can listen to it forever a million times.

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
"Change Of Heart" is one of the greatest songs Thomas has ever written...WONDERFUL song..!

Spike-TPfan@webtv.net
Long after Dark is definitely one of the best. It has continuous rock and roll songs. Nothing slow and everything is catchy and fun to hear over and over again.

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
I'm listening to "A Change Of Heart" right now! A perfect song, and the rest of the album ain't bad either. What really surprised me is that "You Got Lucky" (which I used to really like) sounds so incredibly weak when given the surrounding material. It's a good song on its own, but sounds like horse crap placed on a record player when sandwiched in between the other gems present.

I agree that early Petty records are quite interchangeable, and don't get why most people rate this one lower - it sounds exactly the same! Yet with a higher ratio of standout tracks than every album but "Torpedoes." It's a good album - I found 1.15, but would have paid more if I had known how great that first song I mentioned was.

richbunnell@home.com
Did the critics just randomly throw darts at a bulletin board covered with Post-Its to determine which Petty album would be considered the "misstep," since by critical logic, every artist has to have at least one horrible album? Because it seems like they did, and they really picked the wrong album. This is quite possibly the strongest album the Heartbreakers ever turned out, if you ask my brain. "One Story Town," "Change Of Heart," and "Deliver Me" are some of Petty's most well-written rockers, and I really have to take issue with these dudes who hate "You Got Lucky"-- it's heavily out-of-place on this album, but who cares? The bleak keyboard riff, the subtle guitar fills, the kickarse chorus, the nifty Mad Max video, all components of a deserved classic. So stop bashing it and just let yourself get carried away into Petty's bleak wasteland every time you hear it on the radio, and if you wanna hear "Change Of Heart," just pop in the album-- it's your CD player.

The album sort of peters out after the wonderful "Straight Into Darkness," but it's not like it becomes awful or anything. Just a bit more generic, but that's pretty much a given on any Heartbreakers album. I don't think that any regular-issue Petty album is worth a 10, unless Southern Accents is a classic which I just haven't heard yet (naaaah) but this is definitely Petty's best album and a huge fat 9. Killer riffage going on all around. Buy it buy it buy it.

nedster66@telus.net (Arlene Ned)
Hey it's me again: I liked it too I gave it a nine but for some reason my father didnt get the record. I don't know why. I got it after i had moved out. I didn't like You got lucky. Now I can take it or leave it. I liked a change of heart, I'm finding out, one story town. I for some reason liked it better than hard promisses. I don't know why but I liked that one. Hard promisses I can take it or leave it! Like I said earlier, I find Tom petty winy. He's not the greatest but he did put out good songs!

Add your thoughts?


Southern Accents - MCA 1985.
Rating = 6


Now this is why I was saying that the predictability of the first five albums was a GOOD thing. With Southern Accents, it sounds as if Tom is trying to position himself as a serious musician and artist, replacing instantly enjoyable pop riffing with overbearing Mellencampish statements of Southern identity, experiments with funk and adult contemporary pap, and all kindsa instruments that don't really have any place on a Petty record (trumpets, saxophones, dobro and crap like that). Okay, maybe he just got bored with what he was doing. No biggy. He still manages some pretty great songs - especially the sole hit "Don't Come Around Here No More," a creepy sitar-driven trudger that ends with Alice as a cake that the guys are cutting up and eating. Ah, you know what I'm talkin' about, homes. This is the Empty Vee Degeneration!

So, in short, the experimentation for the most part doesn't work, since Tom is not, nor will he ever be, as truly self-centered as John Mellencamp, Don Henley or any of the other "serious" musicians that he's trying to emulate on this album. But there are still some good songs. "Dogs On The Run" even SOUNDS like a Tom Petty song! Shoulda been a hit.

Reader Comments

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
Usually, I really like musical diversity on records, but I have to say that Tom Petty is better when all of his songs are completely interchangeable. Besides, most of the "diversity" on this one is the idea of putting horns onto underwritten songs - main example being "Ain't Nothin' To Me." Now that's a stupid song.

Sometimes it works, and nowhere better than on the sitar-driven hit "Don't Come Around Here No More." I also feel that the title track is the most beautiful thing he's written (better than a lot of that Wildflowers crap), and that "Rebels" and "Dogs On The Run" succeed in spite of those awful horns.

One last note - there's nothing I like better than a good horn section. Dexy's Midnight Runners had it going for them - Tom Petty, unfortunately, didn't. If he hadn't been so strung out on cocaine while making this record, maybe the songs would have a little energy.

richbunnell@home.com
Am I the only person in the world who thinks that this is a cool album? Petty sounds pretty bizarre doing such a self-consciously conceptual album after five albums of rocking, but most of the songs are still really good. The only song I don't like is the awful "Spike," and I really wish that "Rebels" didn't have that cheesy '80s we're-going-to-the-west! synth sound at the beginning (the vocal delivery on that song is pretty bad too). Otherwise, the album doesn't bother me at all. The processed drums on some tracks only make them sound cooler ("Mary's New Car" and the brilliant "Don't Come Around Here No More") and I actually think that the horn section is a welcome addition to Petty's sound (though I'm glad he didn't try to stick with it). "Make It Better (Forget About Me)" is such a stupid, whitebread funk song, but it's so friggin' catchy!! The album gets an eight, a fairly common rating among Petty albums.

nedster66@telus.net (Arlene Ned)
Hello it's me again! Only one of Petty's records I didn't like was that one. I didn't like any of the songs on it. I'm sorry I baught the record!

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Pack Up The Plantation: Live! - MCA 1985.
Rating = 7


Of all possible times for the Heartbreakers to record a live album, why did it have to be on the crappin' Southern Accents tour? It's not a bad live album, sure, but it would be so much better if we didn't have to sit through shit like "It Ain't Nothin' To Me," "Southern Accents" and "Rebels." There are also way too many friggin' cover tunes on here; I'm all for "So You Want To Be A Rock & Roll Star," since Tom sounds a heck of a lot like Roger McGuinn anyway, but why "Needles And Pins"? Nobody will ever do that song as well as the Searchers did, so let's all quit frigging trying, okay???? Likewise, it's neat to be reminded of that great Animals song "Don't Bring Me Down," but is there any reason at ALL for this band to be covering a John Sebastian song? Or performing a NINE-AND-A-HALF minute version of "Shout"???? Of course there isn't! Maybe Tom just wanted to give the fans a little something extra for their money than rehashes of old band classics. Whatever. I prefer the classics. They sound great on here! "I Need To Know," "Breakdown," "The Waiting" - that's the kinda stuff I wanna hear at a Petty concert, dammit! So at least it's a double-album, and the good tunes are on here too, right? Right.

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"Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)" - MCA 1987.
Rating = 7


Definitely the most lost-sounding album of Tom's career thus far. It sounds like the band has no idea what they want to be! "Jammin' Me" starts the album on an extremely strong note, whipping them back to the great electric guitar romp that was really their forte before Tom got all artsy with Southern Crapcents. But the rest of the album is a jumbled mess of greatness, weakness and out-and-out weirdness. There's happytime cowpunk, slow shitty balladry, major-league ripoffs of early Dylan and Exile-era Stones, a couple of hilariously dated excursions into overproduced mid-80s keyboard swill, underwritten countryish crap, great old-fashioned rock and roll - jesus! And it's all like just split up and spread out over this 40-minute visit through the confused and directionless mind of Mr. Tom Petty. Don't get me wrong - it's got some great songs and it's definitely more fun than Southern Accents, because it doesn't really try hard to make any statement at all, other than maybe "We don't know what we're trying to do here." But it's still hard to get too excited about a release as uneven as this one. It's definitely a fun mess, though; I'll give 'em credit for that! A seven it is!

I appear to have used the phrase "out-and-out" a couple of minutes ago. I realize that there are no words I can say that would sufficiently make up for having done that, but let me apologize anyway.

Sorry.

Reader Comments

richbunnell@home.com
"Jammin’ Me" is a complete and utter classic, despite the fact that no one remembers it and it didn't make it onto the hits collection despite the fact that it was a Top 20 hit (and since Tom has only had 2 or 3 bonafide Top 10 hits, that's pretty high). Otherwise I agree with your rating—Tom seems to be all over the place this time around, even if he produces a few winners like "Runaway Trains" and "My Life/Your World." All of the material on here is pretty much good, but not a lot of the songs lack that extra "oomph" needed to be truly great. 7/10

Add your thoughts?


Full Moon Fever - MCA 1989.
Rating = 8


I'm probably way off on this, so don't write this down as fact and go rave to your little asshole friends about it or anything, but it kinda seems like Tom was having a little identity crisis with Let Me Up, and this solo effort was an attempt to figure out what he really wanted to be. Answer? A folky. A pop-oriented folky for sure, and one who occasionally liked to kick out the jams with a tough rocker, but with age comes desire for change, and for Tom, that change came with a new appreciation for the heavenly janglestrum of a clean acousticy guitar. Probably had a lot to do with that Travelling Wilburies side project. Whatever the reason, the important thing here is that with his revelation came a creative splurge of great song ideas, giving us what may very well be the most enjoyable record of his career. Well, the choruses sorta weaken right near the end, but hell.... How can you put down an album that has "Free Fallin'," "I Won't Back Down" and "Runnin' Down A Dream" on it? The pop sense is in full swing, and the side two folkfest is a fun one indeed, examining such everyday concerns as punk rock kids and suicidal tendencies (whose first album totally kicks ass!). Ahh, the hell with it. Sit back and love it like me if you want, or go about your business bitching about this or that. I don't give a shit. I debated giving this record a nine, but backed off only because of a few weak choruses on side two. Most of it rules. An 8.49 for sure.
Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
Well, I have a couple of bitchy problems with late-period Tom...mainly Jeff Lynne, whose production style just really irks me. I can do without that really dry, up-front vocal sound set against the shiny, candy-like ELO-meets-the-Traveling Wilburys choruses...and some of the songwriting's getting a little more derivative of late '70's stuff...hmm...what am I trying to say here..."Runnin' Down A Dream" sounded to me like "Queen Of Hearts", riff-wise...the melody to "Free Fallin'" sounds exactly like a slowed-down version of Cheap Trick's "Invaders Of The Heart"...I don't know...I love 'ol Tom, but I give this album a 6.

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
Well crafted songs that are perfect fit for Classic Rock Radio. Good balance between fast and slow.

MSROELOFS@prodigy.net (Mike in Hawaii)
This album was really a letdown when it came out (my girlfriend loved it). I wish I could say it's grown on me and I've reversed my opinion it, but the stuff on this record that was merely disappointing in 1989 REALLY annoys the bejesus out of me today.

OK, my first gripe (shared with some of your other readers) is Jeff Lyne's ham-handed over-production. Petty's best tracks are always a little rough around the edges and a little raucous in a harmless sorta way. Nothing like that in this package. What you get on Full Moon Fever is just too "nice" to be any real fun. Leave the spit-shine, glossy crap to ELO (I'm not slamming ELO, just making my point). This record SOUNDS like a product, manufactured for your consumption and eventual disposal - they should've stamped one of those triangular "recycle" logos into the plastic.

My second gripe is the simple-mindedness of Tom's songwriting on these tracks. The themes and ideas here are entirely one-dimensional (I've got strains of "Free Fallin'" and "Running down a dream" playing in my head at the moment). These tracks rarely sport decent hooks, are chock-full of ultra-simplistic (childlike) melodies, and the choruses just drone on and on and on. It's a sad day indeed when my favorite song on a singer-songwriter-type album is a cover track ("Feel A Whole Lot Better" - now THAT's a melody!)

Final gripe - people loved (and love) this record. For me, this record's huge success was ample confirmation of the depths to which musical consciousness had sunk in the late 1980's (I sound like and old fart now - I'm only 29!) Oh well, on the other hand this is probably just one of those cases where I just didn't get it. Lots of people DID get it. Maybe I'm still ticked-off that my then-girlfriend liked it so darned much but could've cared less about Petty's timeless earlier stuff.

richbunnell@home.com
Well, this album has one huge thing going for it - Tom finally learned how to access his lower register and SING on this album. Could you imagine a great song like "I Won't Back Down" sung in Petty’s old screechy voice? The album’s mostly good, not all great, but the way Tom opens the second half of the album on the CD is hilarious ("Hello, CD listeners…") and the songs hold together well—not once on the album does Tom ruin a promising song with his voice as he did back in 1985 with "Rebels." Still, I agree that Lynne's production kind of smooths the rough edges, though for the most part it doesn't really bother me. The only place where it irks me is "Running Down A Dream," which is an awesome song, but would've sounded better if the guitars weren't so clean.

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayebagha)
Good adult pop/rock. I personally think "Love Is A Long Road" is smashing, but it's not mentioned in this reivew, and it ain't on his best of album either. If you listen to it with a sense of humour, it's really great, with the heavy arena rock vibe making it like totally like great.

I was also really moved by "Yer So Bad" when I first got this, but it's not quite as amazing after a while...Just about all of them are good though, I usually skip the balad, the fourth track.

Can't help feeling that it's almost too conventional, but whatever, it's got enough quality for 8/10.

8.5/10

whitenoisemaker661@yahoo.com (Mike K)
I've always enjoyed the greatest hits album, but it also gave me the impression that Tom Petty and/or The Heartbreakers were pretty much a "singles" kind of a band. But nevertheless, I semi-recently picked up this album from a convenience store for 10 dollars. So, yes, this is a "singles band" kind of album in as much as the singles are the strongest tracks on it, but the rest is still mostly solid. Actually "Love Is A Long Road" and "Face In The Crowd" are strong enough that I could see them being all over classic rock radio too, and combined with "Free Fallin", "Running Down A Dream", "Yer So Bad" and "I Won't Back Down", that makes for a pretty great first side. Other than the Byrds cover, the second side isn't as good hook-wise, but still pretty fun and likeable. "Zombie Zoo" is pretty cheesy, but even that one I've come to enjoy for the goofiness of the "sha la la" backing vocals and lines like "Sometimes you're so impulsive, you shaved off your hair, you look like Boris Karloff and you don't even care!". The production can detract if you're not in the mood for something hugely polished though, that Jeff Lynne sure likes massed backing vocals and making live drums sound as fake as possible.

Sidenote part 1: I haven't heard the Cheap Trick song Jim Hull mentions, but as someone whose dad used to have an unhealthy love of blaring Juice Newton's greatest hits, I certainly do hear "Queen Of Hearts" in the chorus of "Running Down A Dream" (which I still like anyway). But to add to his list, the verses of "The Apartment Song" are basically a sped up version of Neil Young's "Love Is A Rose" (although that melody's kind of generically country-ish enough that maybe it didn't even originate with Neil himself).

Sidenote part 2: it is in fact a little weird that there are two bands called The Heartbreakers, but I suppose it's never really been an issue because both names are in the Blank And The Blanks format. Johnny Thunders' Heartbreakers would be in the T section of the record store, while Tom Petty's would be in the P section, and presumably their concert posters would have "Johnny Thunders" and "Tom Petty" in big letters, respectively. So I guess this means if I ever get a band together we could get away with calling ourselves Mike K And The News.

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Into The Great Wide Open - MCA 1991.
Rating = 8


This was Tom's return to the Heartbreakers, but - thanks mainly to the presence of Jeff Lynne - it certainly isn't a return to the Heartbreaker sound of old. Though not as folksy as Full Moon Fever, it's far more polished and slick than any previous Heartbreakers production. Tom's voice remains louder and cleaner than it used to be as well. Still, his melodic streak continues winningly! Aside from a few sluggish bores ("All Or Nothin'," "Built To Last" and the hit title track with its stolen Paul Westerberg lyric -- all three of which were inexplicably chosen for the Playback box set), this album is as warm, happy and comforting as a wool-knitted summer's day. "Learning To Fly" certainly does sound like a Tracy Chapman ripoff, but isn't it a lovely song? And hooks galore - both musical and vocal - will have your brain singing along with such winning non-hits as "Kings Highway" ('We'll ride away today! Good fortune comes our way!'), "Two Gunslingers" ('I'm takin' con-troooool of my life!'), the gently sad "All The Wrong Reasons" and the riff-tastic slop-rocker "Makin' Some Noise." Heck, I've even grown to love the uptempo fuzz-rocker "Out In The Cold," one of Tom Petty's least favorite Tom Petty songs ever!

The weakest tracks are pretty unpleasant, but they're also the vast minority on an otherwise bright and musical pop-rock release.

Reader Comments

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
Consistent if not spectacular. God its just hard to say much else about Tom in general.

richbunnell@home.com
It’s about as jangly as the band’s ever got and the songs aren’t very creative, though there aren’t really any unlistenable songs aside from "Making Some Noise." Sure, "Out In The Cold" is probably the least creative song ever made and all, but it’s still pretty catchy. The hits are good as well (the title track starts out sounding ugly and annoying but soon reveals its majesty), as they always are anyway. 8/10

nedster66@telus.net (Arlene Ned)
Hello I liked it too: But like full moon feaver they are simular but who cares if you are a petty fan! I didn't notice it until one day I was board and I studied them both. I like some of the songs on both of them. As for out in the cold I can take it or leave it. My favorite song on into the great wide open is making some noise!

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* Greatest Hits - MCA 1992. *
Rating = 10


Either buy them all or buy this one, because there are just way too many great hits for you not to own as many of them as possible. This comp includes sixteen cool classics, plus a decent new depression anthem called "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and a fairly pointless new cover tune. Sole gripes - and you knew I had to gripe, so don't act surprised - where the fork are "Woman In Love," "Change Of Heart" and "Jammin' Me"? You telling me those weren't hits? Okay, "Jammin' Me" hasn't gone down in history as a classic, but it's still a great rock song and without it, this comp features not a thing from "Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)", which hardly seems right. And "Woman In Love" and "Change Of Heart" get played on the radio every ten minutes! Why in God's name would they not be on this compilation? Weird. Anyway, this is still a great little collection that pretty much every rock fan should own, unless you really hate Tom's voice or something.
Reader Comments

RONIN@BELLATLANTIC.NET (Dave Weigel)
I bought this one when I was about 12, after hearing that "Freefallin'" song on MTV (I was a pretty stupid kid, but I had a knack for buying stuff I'd use the hell out of later, like the Foundation Series, the book Dune, a buncha Pink Floyd and Aerosmith albums...anyway). What a great album. 17 overplayed rock classics and a cool cover tune, all stacked on top of each other. Critics try to make you feel guilty for buying a "greatest hits" record, but I don't listen to critics anymore. In my opinion, this album ranks up there with Chronicle and the Best of the Doors in the echelon of tapes that'll stay in your car stereo for months on end. A definite 10/10!

NOSPOL@aol.com
Definitely in the top 5 of greatest hits compilations, up there with CCR's Chronicle and The Police's Every breath you take: the classics. Like Dire Straits' Money For Nothing, I put this one on when taking a break from Heavy Metal and Alternative.

NOSPOL@aol.com
Took me a while before getting this CD. Finally purchased it last year. A great album! The thing is I grew up with Tom Petty songs playing continuosly.This album compiles many of Tom's great songs.

Now when is his new album coming out?

richbunnell@home.com
Perfect, aside from the fact that "Jammin’ Me" isn’t included. It’s great how the album’s arranged chronologically, which means that you can play it as it goes through and hear Tom’s voice getting mellower and mellower until it goes from screeching like "American Girl" to mellowness like "Learning To Fly." Plus "Mary Jane’s Last Dance" has a killer riff, even though I understand it was ripped off—but that’s fairly common for late-era Petty. All of the songs are great, so what more can I say? 10/10

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
Yeah - why isn't "Jamming Me" on here? If it were on here, we wouldn't have to sit through the rest of the original album of Let Me Up. And "Change Of Heart" is great, too! A heap of a lot better than "Learning To Fly" - the absolute most boring song he's ever done. I'm also not a huge fan of the two second album songs included, but that's just me. I think they should come out with a new CD version of this featuring those sadly excluded songs, and possibly hits from the several albums released since 1992.

cynderelli@techline.com (TAD)
Worth it all 4 "Even the Losers," a 4got10 rock classic. I don't think these guys ever came close 2 living up 2 their reputation (or hype, if U prefer), but this 1 song is worth a whole career -- plus I can sometimes stand 2 listen 2 the rest of the record, 2. "Century City" (or whatever) is OK, but the rest is 2 overplayed & just a little 2 generic. Not that distinctive, ya know.

Some of Petty's later stuff is OK, 2 -- "You Got Lucky," etc., but most of the rest was ... U know, just nothing 2 get 2 Xcited about. & what about that whiny cover he did of "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better"? I agree it was the perfect cover song 4 Tom 2 do, but doesn't NEbody remember The Byrds?

ian.moss@yale.edu
This is really one of the best greatest hits albums I've ever seen, because it manages to include ALL the radio hits that he had done up to that point, and includes "Mary Jane's Last Dance" for kicks. Most compilations leave out a few key selections to make you go buy the albums, and include a couple of filler tracks as well, but this one doesn't. If you have only a passing interest in Tom Petty, this album is perfect.

amandajean@white-star.com (Amanda Kenyon)
I agree. Fantabulous album. There were a couple songs on here that I'd heard about forty gazillion times on the radio ("You Got Lucky," for instance) that I actually didn't know were Tom Petty songs, and I'm damn glad to have them. "Even the Losers," "The Waiting," "Learning to Fly" (which is much better than the Pink Floyd song by the same name - I am not a Gilmour fan), they're all terrific. Yay for Tom. I'd rate him right up there with Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins and all those other rock pioneers just for good old-fashioned straight-up American rock and roll.

And if Tad up there doesn't start writing in some form of intelligible English ("4got10"? that is the most annoying written word I've ever seen) I'm going to rip his arm off and beat him with it.

CallieMimosa@aol.com
WOW! This is a must have for any Petty and the Heartbreakers fan! It has the best work of the band plus Mary Janes Last Dance and Something In The Air. This album may have saved my life! My youngest brother made a copy of his copy of this album and I listened to it over and over on a cassette player in a clock radio! Personally I was at my lowest low. I was trying to get clean and sober, going through a nasty divorce, and barely getting by financially!

I was encouraged by the lyrics of nearly every song! They all have a special meaning to me. I felt like Tom Petty had followed me through my ups, downs, get togethers, break ups and wrote these songs to me!

Even the Losers and The Waiting are probably the songs that encouraged me the most but they all have a special meaning to me.

When I finally got a 'real' stereo system and heard 'my' songs I was again in love with this band but this time for their musical genius! The performance this band displays is enormous! Each tune is mixed and played to perfection!

I would feel confident giving or recommending this album to anyone who loves rock and roll. It has something for everyone!

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Playback - MCA 1995.
Rating = 8


Excellent box set! Six discs, so it's really long. First three discs are mostly album tracks, but you have all your hits (plus some really crappy album tracks where good ones would have fit -- why the hell is that funk song from Southern Accents on here????). Then there's a disc of b-sides. And then, hooee!!! Two discs of EXCELLENT and never before heard goodies. This guy may have a predictable style, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. The guitar interplay is really nice too. Chiming, easy and lovely. Buy it for the Tom Petty lover in your life!

And then give him a rim job!

And then enjoy some snowballing together!

Reader Comments

ayoungnol@hotmail.com (Alex R)
That's sick.

richbunnell@home.com
Aww... Am I the only person in the world who really likes "Make It Better (Forget About Me)"? And yeah, that's sick, Mark.

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Wildflowers - MCA 1994.
Rating = 8


Strange how a "solo" album can sound so much like Great Wide Open, but there you go. A pretty lengthy record (over an hour!), this one suffers not from weak material, but from an overreliance on musical influences. Yes, I love these tunes, but it's simply impossible for me to sit through the entire CD without thinking to myself, "Hey! 'Wildflowers' and 'Don't Fade On Me' are complete Dylan ripoffs! Hey! 'Only A Broken Heart' is a Beatles ripoff! Hey! 'Wake Up Time' is a Don Henley ripoff!" and on and on and on. I love listening to it, though - and it's Tom Petty's favorite album of his career (as of 2007). The hits ("You Don't Know How It Feels," "You Wreck Me," "It's Good To Be King" and "A Higher Place") are phenomenal, and a few of the other slow sloppies and bluesy ballbusters are pretty cool too, but what's with the ripoffs? Did Tom not realize he was doing it? I guess that's a possibility. I sure notice, though, and it bugs the lightningbug out of me. Heck. Buy it anyway! It's still a damn good time for children of all ages. Tom's been doing this for two decades now, and we should respect him as a talented elder who's given classic rock radio a lot of catchy tunes to fill up the spaces between Zeppelin rock blocks and Allman Brothers twofers. Am I right?

Nah.

Well, wait a minute! Yeah! So I'll give it an 8, even though I kinda think it's derivative!

Reader Comments

HDVW143@aol.com
O.K. I Think Wildflowers is Tom's best (besides Full Moon Fever). I love every track on this one. I think Tom kicked some ass here!

tedaldi@acsu.buffalo.edu
Add Tom swiping the musical genius of AC/DC to the list for Wildflowers, too. "You Wreck Me" sounds a lot like the intro to "Walk All Over You," but something tells me good ol' Tom isn't into Angus & Co. as I'm claiming him to be. I've never listened to Wildflowers but I saw TP&THB on tour and swiped a beachball with the album's logo on it, which sits in my room--deflated--to this day.

richbunnell@home.com
Boredom. Complete and utter boredom. I’ll give it a 6/10 since it still has it’s share of catchy songs (all of which were singles) but "Honey Bee" is a putrid, irritating attempt at a slow bluesy song and I can see what you mean about the constant stealing of music—I keep expecting "A Higher Place" to turn into Talking Heads’ "And She Was," and some song near the end during the sequence of it’s verses sounds like Tom’s leading into the line "She’s got Bette Davis Eyes!" I doubt that Tom meant it that way, but they DO sound awfully similar, plus the ones that you already pointed out.

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
I consider this to be one of his weakest efforts. I bought this at the request of a friend, who said that this was her "favourite album of his." I later discovered that not only did she not have any of his other albums, but had never heard "American Girl," "Rfugee," "You Got Lucky," "The Waiting," or even "Don't Come Around Here No More." She also had no idea that he had a greatest hits record, or that he had been around since the late seventies.

Anyway, I can't come up with a definite score for it, seeing as I've only listened to it a couple times. I actually enjoy the "ripoffs" more than most of the other songs - his old songs are all Byrds ripoffs, how does that make them any less good? I think that the hits ("It's Good To Be King," "You Wreck Me," and "You Don't Know How It Feels") are all very catchy and well-done, and would be enough to move this album up to a seven. That is, if I didn't have to listen to crap like "Hard On Me," "Honey Bee," and the entire second half save "Wake Up Time."

CallieMimosa@aol.com
I disagree with you about this album sounding like Dylan or the Beatles! I don't hear anything but 100% Tom Petty at his finest!

My favorites are 'Its Good to Be King' and 'To Find a Friend'. My least favorite is 'Honeybee' but I have lots of friends who love that song.

I would give this album a score of 8 out of 10.

ddickso2@uccs.edu
Rich Bunnell, you're a nice guy, but you're CRACKED, my friend. For the record, Christgau agreed with you on the "boredom" part, but for the record, Christgau is a batpoop crazypants freak of nature who eats Chuck Berry for breakfast, reverently worships the Rolling Stone Satan beat (literally!) and wishes every album recorded by white men sounded like the goddamn New York Dolls debut. Additionally, he is an alien.

Therefore I'm afraid, "American Girl" aside, I can't associate Mr. Tom Petty with fast funky beats and the simple rock and roll (apochryphal) song, having endured a listen through Damn the Torpedoes and never ever wanting to again ever. But, being a rootsy fellow as I am, I CAN associate him with Dylan and Mellencamp ripoffs, and Wildflowers as a whole is about the best Basement Tapes ripoff I've ever heard. Even better, there is no Band. Bonus.

I'd say the reason Mr. Petty regards this as a "solo" record is because he feels it to be more of a personal construction, as opposed to his earlier records, which probably were colored more by how the band interpreted his songs. Since he has more control over the arrangements, he casts his net a little wider, wrapping together as many rootsy things as he can--Stones, Dylan, Eagles, '80's Springsteen, McCartney--and passing it off as a magnum opus of sorts. Occasionally, the wide net results in less melodic moments (the Elton John-ish ballad at the end, "It's Good to be King," "Don't Fade on Me"), or outright stealage ("Blowin in the Wind" via "Hard to Find a Friend", "R.O.C.K. in the USA" via "Higher Place"). And, as Rich pointed out, one of the gnarly "tough" rockers on here is, in the words of the Joni Mitchell page, a piece of shit clit tit piss fuck poop dick puss shit aass piss dick vomit puke ass piss shit ass dick balls, but it's short and has a cool guitar tone, so we can forgive.

I think the best thing about this album, though, is that for once in his life, Petty actually sounds like he's AIMING for significance, instead of just reminding us that rock and roll is significant. Lucinda Williams has been doing that for decades (and frankly, so has Petty), and there's a reason rock and roll is NOT BEING SAVED BY THOSE EFFORTS. By efforts like Wildflowers, however, maybe. It's one of the best albums of the '90's.

Then again, it WAS partially responsible for the rise of Matchbox Twenty two years later. Dammit, now I don't like it.

Add your thoughts?


Songs And Music From The Motion Picture She's The One - Warner Bros. 1996.
Rating = 7


Fun record! I guess the movie didn't turn out to be an instant classic like Picture Perfect, but this music ain't no bad at all! Very slow and draggy like a good deal of the last record, but mesmerizing in its sluggishness anyway. And there's a couple of cool cover tunes (Beck and Lucinda Williams) to let you know Tom's still hip to what the kids dig. And there are two versions of that catchy "Walls" single, along with the also catchy non-hit ballad "Angel Dream." I guess I should probably see the movie so I could understand why it would inspire Mr. Petty to center an entire album around it, but who the heck wants to look at Edward Burns any longer than necessary? Couple of speedy bluesys, lots of slowys, very relaxedy and nicey. I give it an seventy.

Holy shit! A SEVENTY??? This album is SEVEN TIMES better than any other album I've ever heard!!!!!

Reader Comments

RONIN@BELLATLANTIC.NET (Dave Weigel)
I bought the She's the One soundtrack, and it's really quite gooood (I don't know why I typed 4 o's there, but I'm leavin' it.). The overproduced single "Walls" (with Lindsey Buckingham harmonies!) is really not a good sample of the album. It makes it sound like Tom's gone pop again, when really this is his most eclectic collection yet! There's some Dylanesque electic boogie, some pseudo-blues, some luverly acoustic songs, pretty, short instrumentals, and a great Beck cover (which proves that beyond all the new "new dylan" bullshit and hype, Beck is a darn good songwriter). It's a really low-key, fun album, and I find myself coming back to it a lot, more than his other albums. I'd give it a 8.3.

gary_campbell@harte-hanks.com (Marlene)
Tom Petty pretty much lived right about here when they hit it big. i adore tom and wonder how he is re divorce and his recent death....don't really know if anyone will ever see this since i don't know how to send it i'm at work. thanks for the neat-o tp stuff. bye.

CallieMimosa@aol.com
This is my favorite album of TP&HB's. Not a single song on it that I don't LOVE!

My favorites are 'Zero From Outerspace' and 'Supernatural Radio'

Zero from Outerspace is such a fun song to listen to and even more fun to sing along to!

'Angel Dream' is beautiful. Tom certainly comes across as a big romantic and I love that!! He is a lyrical genius as far as I am concerned! I am a lifelong fan....that is one thing I am certain of!

The Lucinda Williams tune is great too!

I encourage everyone to buy this album. You won't regret it!

Add your thoughts?


Echo - Warner Bros. 1999.
Rating = 7


NOTE: I ORIGINALLY GAVE THIS ALBUM A 6 UPON ITS RELEASE, BUT NOW I HAVE RAISED IT TO A 7. I THINK THE REASON I DISLIKED IT SO MUCH AT FIRST IS BECAUSE MOST OF THE SONGS ARE SLOW AND DREARY. THIS WAS APPARENTLY BECAUSE TOM WAS GOING THROUGH A DIVORCE AT THE TIME. LISTENING TO IT TODAY, I FIND IT QUITE POIGNANT. NOT HIS GREATEST RECORD, BUT MUCH BETTER THAN I'D ORIGINALLY THOUGHT. HERE'S MY ORIGINAL '6' REVIEW:

MAN, is this a disappointing record. Tom has nothing new to say. NOTHING. I mean, the dude has always been slightly derivative of other bands, but never has he so blatantly repeated himself. Perhaps that's the reasoning behind calling the album Echo. It sounds as if he listened to his last few records and was determined to repeat them for us. Folks who've never heard a Petty album before are likely to enjoy it just fine. After all, these songs are by no means bad. It's just that he's already played us all these songs before! The ballads, the rockers - we've heard it all before. Come on, Tom, you're so much smarter than this. Try a little harder next time.

By no means should anybody count him out because of this record. He's had slightly dry patches before (though never quite THIS dry). Still, as he himself says in the catchiest song on this record, "I've been down but it won't last long." His next album will probably be awesome. He's a good guy and a great songwriter (generally).

Reader Comments

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
Hey, what's up with the first single from this album? Is it "Free Girl Now" or "Room At The Top"? I remember they originally announced it was to be the former, but I guess that some smart music exec actually listened to it, and realized "Wait a sec... this sounds like nothing more than a lame rewrite of 'You Wreck Me,' and could never be a hit even if we did play it on classic rock radio every three seconds." So, they exchanged it for the other one, which they DID play on radio every three seconds. Killed it, too - a shame because it's a quite enjoyable, moody piece of music that absolutely blew me away the first couple times I heard it.

I don't actually have Echo, but a friend of mine says it's really great. This is not the same friend who didn't know there was a greatest hits collection, but is the one who thought that "Free Falling" was a U2 song.

richbunnell@home.com
On first listen I was extremely disappointed and I really don't disagree with your review, or at least the points that you made in it, but I'd give the album an 8 myself. The slow songs are hit-and-miss--"Counting On You," "No More," and "Lonesome Sundown" fail to contain a single interesting melody between them, but the title track, "Rhino Skin," the chilling "Swingin'" and the amazing power ballad (in the non-'80s hair metal sense)"Room At The Top" are really impressive.

The rockers are better this time too-- they're not slick and watered down like on "Into The Great Wide Open" or fuzzy and derivative like the lone rocker "You Wreck Me" off of "Wildflowers," they're just catchy fast songs, and I count several of them--"Won't Last Long," "About To Give Out," "I Don't Wanna Fight," and "Free Girl Now," which is okay even if a little mindless. "Billy The Kid" isn't very interesting though.

Maybe you're just getting tired of the Petty formula--you said yourself that "he's done all this before" so I'm assuming that this album would get a much higher rating had it been released earlier in his career, maybe before Full Moon Fever. Petty isn't exactly a virtuoso in musical innovation; he just runs through the same ol' rock standards album after album and surprisingly hits the mark more times than one would expect, and it seems that now you've caught on to his scheme.

rob@mg.co.za (Rob Davies)
I agree completely with Rich's interpretation.

On first listen, this album did fuck-all to me, I just sat there thinking, "Jeeezus, Rob, you've just wasted valuable Pink Floyd money."

So, I shelved it.

About a month later I came home to a party which my flatmate had organised, and really listened to the title track for the first time.

Of course we were all pretty much stoned out of our pips, but now I really like it.

Granted, it's not as poopy (I meant to write poppy) as some of Tom's other stuff, and it isn't catchy as hell, but somehow it works.

I dunno how, but it gets my reefer-a-flaming.

Room At The Top is pretty grand, and the aforementioned title track just fucking kills me evertime. Which is, of course, what a good title track should do. Witness Highway to Hell, for example.

Anyway, that's just my crock of shit on an album that is probably better than it sounds first time around.

deadbear99@hotmail.com (Ari Rosenberg)
I disagree with all of the previous reviews. I think that Echo was amazing, it proved to the world that Tom Petty and friends are still alive and well. It showed that talent does not just disappear with old age. The first time I listened to Echo I was in awe, I could not believe that he was still capable of such greatness. The album is quiet impressive, maybe everyone else was expecting a little too much from the old man. Of course, this is just my opinion, but Echo deserves to be put on the same pedestal as his previous albums. Mr. Petty should be an idol to all, he as immense talent.

CallieMimosa@aol.com
I really disagree with you on this album. It is another wonderful piece of work!

'Room at the Top' is gorgeous and 'Swingin' is just that, a real swingin' tune!

I think Echo is different from any album TP&HB's have done before and that is the reason for the mixed reviews.

TPPlayback@aol.com
I mean, what are you talking about! Echo was by FAR the most amazing, thought provoking album Tommy's done. To me, he was just trying to put the past behind him and move on, and when you come to a place like that you need some freakin' ECHOs! Beautiful lyrics all around. Not something that everybody would like, for sure, but that's why I like Tom Petty so much. The album as a whole would definately be better without "...you're a free girl now.." but wonderful nonetheless.

Man, I saw your thread at Sean's website (gonegator.com), and I love it! It's awesome! You don't have to post this cause it's really late and my wording is horrible, but I would defend Echo till my last breath. =)

Terry
Have to agree with Callie – simply a wonderful piece of work and a very, very underrated album. For me the stand out tracks are ‘Room at the Top’, ‘Counting on You’ & ‘Swingin’. Tom Petty and his band (especially Mike Campbell) are simply one of the few great bands still around that are relevant.

Add your thoughts?

The Last DJ - Warner Bros. 2002.
Rating = 8


Yes! Raymond "Tom" Petti-bone returns from the doldrums of that Echo stinker with a great bunch of songs about the corruption of the music business, women, nostalgia and young people in pain. WIth MUSIC THAT HE HASN'T USED BEFORE! See, what killed Echo for me was that the title was so appropriate. It was just a weaker, more sluggish and less melodic approach to Tom "Norman" Petty's American jangle a(n)esthetic. The Last DJ, on the other gland, is a sprightly sprucebag of clever, memorable hooks all bouncing and being pretty and melancholic and bitter and everything and whatnot, with McCartney-style piano prettiness balancing on a seesaw directly opposite acoustic rhythm and electric lead guitars all standing together so you can hardly even tell one from the other. And the drummer is the middle of the seesaw, which makes the side with the piano and the side with the guitars go up and down and up and down and up and down, but not in terms of volume as they generally stay at the same volume, but analogies were never my strong suit.

Now I've got on my knighting armor -- THAT's my "strong suit"! HAHHAHAHHHAAHAHHAHHAHA!

"Prindle does it again. The 'strong suit' gag is a classic of modern satire." - Newsweek

Great production on this one. Everything sounds loud, strong and clear without being sickeningly squeaky clean like the ones that Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra fame produced (Into The Great Wide Open and The One That Has Free Fallin' On It). And it's delightfully impossible to pigeonhole the album as fitting a particular "style" or "sound" from beginning to end, veering as it does between uptempo Petty guitar janglers, gorgeous piano ballads, ugly oddball electric blues rockers, the jaunty music hall jaunt (music hall) jauntiness (Mmm, you sick? Hall's?) of "The Man Who Loves (jaunty) Women" and the COMPLETELY NOT AT ALL LIKE TOM PETTY eerie melancholia and bizarre dynamics of the amazing CD closer "Can't Stop The Sun" (which, if I were that Flaming Lips guy, I would sue him for crudely combining the titles of my two songs "Can't Stop The Spring" and "The Sun," possibly the most blatant creative ripoff since The Chiffons viciously tore George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" from the womb of his Hare Krsna mind/spirit and cynically converted it into "He's So Fine (And By 'He,' I Mean Jesus Christ)."

And Howe about those lyrics, Steve? How about you, Rick? Are you aWake, Man? Oh no! You look "Rabin" (ravin') mad, Trevor!

It's said that only the wisest among us will take the time to truly make Yes jokes. Which reminds me -- I was reading the Bible the other night because I worship the Christian Dark Overlord and I think it's neat that there's a book named after me (you'll find The Book of Prindle lodged tightly between the Books of Nathaniel and Dangly-Penis Jenkins) and I couldn't help but notice that (A) Jesus hates Jews and (B) the old adage that the Old Testament God is wrathful and the New Testament God is forgiving is a bunch of BULLSHIT! He's a wrathful old prick from beginning to end! Read the Book of Mark and let's discuss.

Lyrically, Tom has some really funny lines about how greed has destroyed music -- check out these verses and see if you smile and perhaps chuckle as much as this author did when first exposed:

(from the point of view of a disillusioned concert attendee): "We arrived there early/in time to see rehearsal/And Johnny came out and lip-synched/his new Light Beer commercial." HA!

(from the point of view of a record company CEO): "So burnt-out Johnny thinks our books are shifty/What good's that alky to me when he's fifty?/We could move catalog if he'd only die quicker/Send my regards to the gig and a case of good liquor." HA!!!!!! DO YOU SEE WHY I'M WRITING DOWN LAUGHTER???? TOM'S A REGULAR CODEMIAN!

I say it's the comeback album of the year and I don't even care that "Joe" and "When A Kid Goes Bad" make the idea of dunking my ears in a bucket of vomit seem appealing. Thanks, Tom, for all those great hits you've given us over the years! Especially "We Need Peace In L.A."! You did that one for the KIDS!

Reader Comments

ruby75@telus.net (Keri)
Hi, not a bad album if you like listening to Mr.. Petty ramble on and on about the music business not to mention the fact he works for one of the biggest record labels out there. Great effort but definitely doesn't deserve an 8, I'd give it a 6 and that is generous. I find his voice one of the most anoying ear sores out there too and I used to be a hard core Petty fan. No more.

georgemunroe@eastlink.ca
I don't find this album to be rambling at all... I find it one of his best in many years, its about time someone stood up for the little guy now that its unfashionable to do so. Now that Springsteen and Mellencamp have joined the legions of elitist pinheads, and turned their backs on their core audience, despite it all, we have Mr. Petty. This album is well worth the money.

I especially enjoyed the line... " As we celebrate mediocrity all the boys upstairs want to see How much you'll pay for what you used to get for free.. ". Brilliant lyric!

I will take this rambling over mediocrity any day!

Great write up..

Add your thoughts?

Highway Companion - American 2006
Rating = 7


That low-rent son of a bitch Petty Petty Petty is back with more jingle-jangle morning melodies to cockle your balls and warm your (h)ear(t). First and foremost, the rustic old gent is finally showing his age visual-wise, his face having rounded significantly as well as developing laugh lines aplenty and eyebags galore over the past few years. It's a strange thing -- I'm just so used to him looking exactly the same year after year after year (except for that thankfully short 'gross beard' period) that looking at his current photos is kind of depressing. "We all age," they seem to be saying. "Even the once-thought-eternal Tom Petty must eventually watch his youth disappear in the long highway road behind him." I love you, Tom Putter. Don't die of sadness or rage.

Pirahna bite? Okay, I guess that would be alright. No sadness though. And don't even get me STARTED about rage!!!!

On the topic of rage, check out how badly I lost my temper yesterday. A while back, I bought Women In Fury from some guy on ebay who apparently sends out movies even before receiving payment. So a couple weeks ago, I got this email from him saying, "Have you paid for the movie yet? I don't accept credit cards," so I checked my PayPal files, saw that I had paid him with PayPal funds on July 17th (my 33rd birthday - thanks for the present, ASSHOLE), and politely responded to inform him of his error. Thinking everything was taken care of, imagine my disappointment upon receiving an email from him last night saying, "I still have not received your payment for the movie. I do not accept credit cards." A mature person would have assumed, "Say, maybe he missed my last email. I'll resend him the info about my PayPal payment." But me? NOPE!!!!

For some reason, I found this note unbelievably ignorant, offensive and irritating. Thus, my response (which I felt like a real dick about within 30 seconds of hitting 'send'):

"Look, WE'VE BEEN OVER THIS ALREADY. I DIDN'T PAY WITH A GODDAMNED CREDIT CARD. I PAID WITH PAYPAL FUNDS ON JULY 17TH, AND THE PAYMENT WENT THROUGH AND WAS ACCEPTED AND CONFIRMED. CHECK YOUR FUCKING ACCOUNT, ASSHOLE!"

Sigh. Way to spread peace and tolerance worldround, Mark. And nothing says 'suave gentleman' like caps lock.

Tom Petty's nice because you kinda always know what you're getting. Sure, he gives you the ol' switcheroo every once in a while (Southern Accents is slightly redneckier, Full Moon Fever slightly folksier, Echo slightly sluggisher), but for the most part you know that when Tom goes into the studio, his goal is to come up with a bunch of warm 'familiar yet new' guitar hooks in the neglected genre of "melodic American rock" (with the occasional detour into pop balladry, country-folk, electric blues and/or hard rock). Thankfully, his formula again works just fine on Highway Companion, his third 'solo' album recorded without the Heartbreakers (except for Mike Campbell, who plays lead guitar on every single track).

The lyrics don't say much of anything. Supposedly they're based on a metaphor of 'driving' as 'aging,' but they're still too general and bland to have much effect. There are some terrific melodies and arrangements to be found though, from the crunchy opening rocker (a simplified "La Grange"/"On The Road Again") through the muted yet determined "Jack," simmering "Turn This Car Around," exhausted '70s smoky bar "This Old Town," speed-folk harmony singalong "Big Weekend," and minor-key organ-blotched "The Golden Rose." Those were terrific little descriptions, and will greatly enhance your enjoyment of the tracks when you listen to them. For example, "Big Weekend" will come on and you'll go, "What the hell is this? I can't make heads or tails of it!" But then you'll read my review and go, "Oh! It's a speed-folk harmony singalong!" In this way, music criticism has proven a valid artistic pursuit for both man and beast.

Unfortunately, if your CD only has 12 songs on them, you can't make 2 of them uneventful ballads and 2 others gross countryish Bob Dylan ripoffs. If you do that, your CD only earns a grade of .666 (Satan The Devil), unless the reviewer politely raises it to an undeserved 7, in which case it's considered impolite to not offer him a nude woman in a barrel of cocaine.

Look, I didn't write these rules of etiquette. As far as I'm concerned, you can eat your steak with a salad fork - I don't give a shit! Unfortunately it's not my decision.

Though featuring as many acoustic guitars as electric, this is by no means a folky Full Fmoon Fever affair. Nor is it all slicked up and glossed over like that disc, even though The Electric Light Orchestra's Jeff Lynne yet again handled the production doodies. One last piece of insight on this perfectly decent release from Florida's Tom Petty: the last album had a song called "Joe," this one has a song called "Jack," and the next one will have a song called "Talcum." In this way, Tom will have paid the ultimate tribute to the tragic Dead Milkmen bassist who took his own life a few years ago.

And yes, he would have gotten the name wrong, but it's a little late now to rewrite "Joe" as "Dave."

"My name's Dave, I'm the CEO... IN THE GRAVE!!!"

Ha ha HA!!!! HEEEEEEE!!!!!

Ah me. It kicks ass to make fun of your friends after they kill themselves.

Reader Comments

dennis.bclue@verizon.net
Well, well well…..what a read that was….the entire page!

Being a HARD CORE Petty lover I could spend several days writing comments after each album reviewed here, but will restrict myself to an overall commentary.

Gotta say that I tend to agree about 90% on most of the views expressed by the main reviwer. I love the VOICE so much that there is not a tune out of the hundreds that I cannot handle on some level….except one, and that is “Running Down A Dream”. Dunno what it is, but it does not exist in my world, a fact that upset me greatly when I saw the band live for the very first time several months ago. Guess what the final encore was???? Thought I had escaped it and was about to leave the show in a TOTAL state of Nirvana. Alas….made it to the car park a little earlier than I may have….

Being the same age as the great man, (the TRUE king of R&R) and a career guitar player of similar duration, I can only say….glad he has the gumption to officially put out un-PhotoShopped pics at the same time as a mammoth tour on which he is attaining some record crowds and performing with exhuberance while simultaneously releasing a new album that is so cool and mature, but he does not push the new material down the throats of the live audience. True good old-fashioned entertainment, unlike contemporaries like one Mr Young who bores the shit outa all and sundry with a complete disregard to the ticket buyers!

My undying favourite TP tunes are scattered throughout his career equally….LOVE “You And I Will Meet Again” off Wide Open….LOVE the verses of “Ankle Deep”….or the angst of the prehistoric “The Wid One Forever”. Varying degrees of beauty throughout the entire catalogue.

Add your thoughts?


Mudcrutch - Reprise 2008
Rating = 6


HI IM ALLCAPS MCGEE AND IM HERE TODAY TO SHOUT AT YOU ABOUT THE NEW TOM PETTY CD. ITS ACTUALLY NOT JUST BY TOM PETTY AND NOT EVEN BY TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS EITHER BUT IT HAS TOM PETTY AND TWO OF THE HEARTBREAKERS ON IT SO I THINK IT SHOULD GO HERE MUDCRUTCH WAS ORIGINALLY TOM PETTYS FIRST BAND BEFORE HE FORMED TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS AND FOR SOME REASON HE GOT A FEATHER UP HIS ASS TO DO A REUNION ALBUM EVEN THOUGH HED ALREADY BEEN PLAYING IN TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS WITH TWO OF THE BAND MEMBERS (MIKE CAMPBELL AND BENMONT TENCH) FOR LIKE SIXTY YEARS ALREADY. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS THAT TOM PETTY PLAYS BASS ON THIS INSTEAD OF GUITAR AND THE GUITAR IS PLAYED BY TOM LEADON WHOSE BROTHER BERNIE LEADON WAS IN THE EAGLES AND RANDALL MARSH PLAYS DRUMS AND THERES A HEAVY FOCUS ON COUNTRY MUSIC. SO IT SOUNDS A LOT DIFFERENT AND EVERYTHINGS DIFFERENT.

hello, i'm lowercase mcpoet and i hope to impart upon you a brief collage of images and words that express and convey the sensual delights and chastisements of mudcrutch, the band and the cd.

petty of song, but not in mind
wonderchild returns to womb
as non-eagular leadon rips redneck riffs
"only 8 write shall i," cries celebrated breaker of hearts
the tench reply: "please partake of my goodtime boogie rocker
like southern joe jackson: harmless....
b
o
u
ncy"
leadon interjects: "let us perform this shitty country-rock song i doth penneth"
world notes ease of believing
(a) leadon's brother was an eagle
(b) bernie got all talent in family
remaining tra(c)ks are few
traditional folk songs two
byrds 'lover of the bayou'
and 'six days on the road' - ooooo

Hay ya'all this here's The Artist Formerly Known As Prince! YEEEEEEE-HOOOOOOO!!!!! Now U dang know how much I loves watchN Smokey N The Bandit with my chaw cup N hand, but evN I gots 2 say that there's way 2 much country-western bullshit on this Tom Petty album. Tom is a pop/rock melodic craftmastR - what the mothRfuckN cocksuckR is he doing writing cliche'd throwaway hoedown vomit like "OrphN Of The Storm," "The Wrong Thing 2 Do" and "House Of Stone"? Ain't it enough that dang ol Tom Leadon's shitty originL N all 4 covRs R firmly Ntrenched N the country-folk, country-western N country-rock traditions? That's 8 of the goddang 14 songs right there! It's not like Petty 4got his strengths; "Scare EZ" is a very strong and emotional first singL, "O Maria" a lovely gentle ballad, "Topanga Cowgirl" a deliciously bouncy piano pop-rockR; "Bootleg FlyR" a hooky uptempo rocker, N evN "CrystL RivR" would B a longing melancholy classic if it weren't dragged out 4 nine N a half shitball minutes of shit. R U telling me, The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, that the mere presence of Tom Leadon was enough 2 turn Tom Petty N The Heartbreakers in2 a big dung-stepN cow-fuckN barn-sleepN pig-sloppN bunch of illiterate hicks? Because if so, I'll stick with my Bad CompNE records, thanks!

Hi, I'm Scarlett Johansson. (*farts*) It's always a sad time when our favorite artists put out a weak record. (*pulls panties aside; moves bowel onto floor*) But don't lose heart; Mudcrutch is most likely just a nostalgic one-shot project for this legendary rock'n'roller, and he'll likely be back in action soon, writing more of those great songs we all grew up with. (*sniffs bowel movement; eats it*)

(*vomits it back up; eats it again*)

Reader Comments

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com
that's definitely one of the funnier reviews on the site. hoo-boy...

jjeffers6@comcast.net
Mark Prindle has written the Ummagumma of album reviews. Let me explain.

Allcaps McGee’s bombastic opening immediately seized my attention. Unfortunately nothing afterwards approached the excitement of the beginning and soon the repetitious drudgery of the key mashing had me scanning the piece desperately seeking something interesting. The search was doomed.

Lowercase McPoet is obviously the most literate of the four. His softly spoken and gentle poetry is a welcome relief after McGee’s noise. You may not understand what he’s saying, but it’s still funny.

TAFKAP’s contribution is mostly unintelligible and goes on far too long. Even if I could figure out what he’s talking about, I’m guessing it’s not worth the effort.

The less said about Scarlett Johansson’s work the better. Like a drum solo, it’s disgustingly bad. Unlike a drum solo, it’s mercifully brief.

Add your thoughts?


Mudcrutch: Extended Play Live EP - Reprise 2008
Rating = 4


Henry The Dog had a funny interaction with a homeless man yesterday. Here's how it went down:

Homeless Man: "Mutter...sdjd..s..sa..DOG!"
Henry: (*turns around curiously*)
Homeless Man: "(Something unintelligible)"
Henry: (*pulls on leash to approach*)
Homeless Man: "WHO LET THA DOGS OUT?"
Henry: "WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF!"
Homeless Man: "I knew you knew it!"

Good old Henry The Dog and his lack of pretense.

Last night I couldn't get to sleep (Insomniac by Gayle Greene) and my stupid thoughts were racing loud and proud. Here are just three of many genius brainstorms that festered in the tar pit of my skull until the blowtorch of the morning sun scorched them away into ashes:

1. "One thing I'll never understand is people mourning over their deceased loved ones. Why, just last week one of my socks got a hole in it and you don't see ME belly-achin' about it!"

2. Man A: "I'd love to take this road trip, but I'm worried about the logistics."
Man B: "Don't worry about the logistics. Humans have an amazing capacity for handling logistics. For example, this one time I handled some logistics."
Man A: "Wow, that was a great story!"
Man B: "Thanks, I bought it off the Internet."

3. It seems like every four seconds somebody asks me what my favorite McDonald's dish is. Well, I'm a fan of most McDonald's cuisine, but it got me to thinking -- "What if McDonald's was actually McDOGald's? And all the food was geared towards dogs?" I think the menu would look something like this....

Filet-O-Something-We-Found-On-The-Ground

Human Shit McNuggets

Quarter Pounder With A Foul-Smelling Patch Of Grass To Roll Around In

Hotcakes And Vomit

Another Dog's Butt McMuffin

And voila! That's the kind of class act you get when Mark Prindle can't get to sleep at night (Amnesiac by Radi O'Head).

As for Mudcrutch's Extended Play Live EP, who would use a crutch made out of mud? Come on, you'd fall all over the place.

But also it features live versions of three Mudcrutch tracks and a Jerry Lee Lewis cover. "The Wrong Thing To Do" remains a substandard one-note tuff rocker, "Bootleg Flyer" has not changed its stance as a fun uptempo jangly rocker, "Crystal River" is not backing down from its position as a gentle and pretty song that wears out its welcome through (formerly ten but now) fifteen repetitive minutes, and "High School Confidential" makes its entree as a generic piece of early 12-bar rock and roll.

Look, I'm a Tom Petty fan from Jim to Pepsi but this EP adds nothing to my life. I could be outside playing hula hoops with the other kids in the neighborhood, but no I'm stuck in here listening to this EP 400 times in a row because that's my rule -- I have to hear a record 400 times in a row before I review it. Oh sure, sometimes it sounds like I just shoved an album up my ass and gave it a 6 for not hurting too bad, but art can be deceiving that way. My art of the written word, that is. I am an artist and your brain is my canvas.

And unfortunately for you, this jar of battery acid is my paint.

Add your thoughts?


The Live Anthology (Deluxe Edition) - Reprise 2009
Rating = 8


One thing that's always confused me about American politics is when people say "So-and-so is the greatest live album ever!" Because what do they mean? Obviously it's just their opinion, but that's not my point. Unlike studio albums, which can all be compared apples to apples according to one's musical tastes, there are several distinct types of live albums -- and one's favorite (i.e. "the greatest ever") depends not only on one's musical tastes, but also on what exactly one expects from the live album experience.

Here are some examples:

1. Great songs that remain faithful to the studio versions (Ramones' It's Alive!, Yes' Yessongs)
2. Radically reworked versions of classic hits (Dylan's Live At Budokan, Rolling Stones' Get Your Ya-Ya's Out!)
3. Lots of solos and jams (The Who's Live At Leeds, Yes' 9012Live - The Solos)
4. Fun and rare cover tunes (The Replacements' When The Shit Hits The Fans, Zip Code Rapists' Here At Last...Live!)
5. Great selection of hits and album tracks representing every era of a large discography (REM's Live At The Olympia In Dublin, Aerosmith's Rockin' The Joint)
6. A classic album performed in its entirety (Jethro Tull's Aqualung Live, Killing Joke's The Gathering)
7. A side of the band that isn't heard on their studio records (The Doors' Absolutely Live, Nirvana's Unplugged In New York)
8. Band originals unavailable on studio albums (Flipper's Public Flipper Ltd., Mission Of Burma's The Horrible Truth About Burma)
9. Humor (The Parasites' It's Alive!, Tom Waits' Glitter And Doom)
10. Studio albums recorded live (Husker Du's Land Speed Record, Ted Nugent's Intensities In Ten Cities)
11. Extremely early performances by bands in their infancy (Devo's Live: The Mongoloid Years, The Fall's Live '77)
12. Experimentation (Melvins' Colossus Of Destiny, Neil Young's Arc)

And that's just one example! So you see my confusion with people and their stupid assholes.

Tom Petty's six-CD Live Anthology (Deluxe Edition) is predominantly a combination of types 1, 4 and 5, but he also throws in a bit of #2, a tinkle of #3, a couple of #8's and one brief disc of #11. Btw, the four-disc Regular Edition also earns an 8/10, so don't feel obligated to pay $4,000,0000,000,0,000 for two extra discs, one of which is just the four-song 1976 Official Live 'Leg EP. Actually, the Deluxe Edition also includes two DVDs, but they were unavailable for illegal download and thus will not be reviewed here.

The Deluxe Edition brings you, the Tom Petty fan and collector, this many songs from these many albums:

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - 5
You're Gonna Get It! - 3
Damn The Torpedos - 5
Hard Promises - 4
Long After Dark - 1
Southern Accents - 3
Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) - 3
Full Moon Fever - 4
Into The Great White Open - 1
Greatest Hits - 2
Playback - 2
Wildflowers - 3
Songs And Music From She's The One - 1
Echo - 1
Anthology: Through The Years - 1
The Last DJ - 4
Highway Companion - 2
Previously Unreleased Cover Tunes - 17
Rare Originals - 3

But lest you think it's a big greatest hits extravaganza, let me add that only about 15 or 20 of these 65 songs ever got substantial radio play. The rest are "deep album cuts," as we used to say back in the early '70s before I was born.

Because Tom Petty is a leading African-American, covered artists include Wilson Pickett, Bo Diddley (twice!), Ray Charles, Willie Dixon, Shirley Bassey, James Brown and Chuck Berry. However, because he has extremely light-colored skin (ex. Michael Jackson), covered artists include Thunderclap Newman, The Zombies, The Grateful Dead, Van Morrison, The Dave Clark Five, Fleetwood Mac, J.J. Cale, Conway Twitty, Paul Butterfield Blues Band and The Byrds. Finally, because he's Chinese, covered artists include Booker T. And The MG's. And I'd like to state for the record that "I'm In Love," "Good, Good Lovin'," "I'd Like To Love You Baby," "Born In Chicago" and "County Farm" are godawful songs that should be against the law for people to cover. Sure, I've never heard the originals but hell if Tom "Shred Central" Petty can't make them sound good, they must smell like so much burning fecal matter in the ear category. With extra SHIT on top!

Notable departures from original studio versions include:

- "Breakdown" is now seven minutes long and includes a verse of "Hit The Road Jack"
- "Refugee" has been extended for your listening pleather
- "Wildflowers" is much prettier without that slick studio overproduction
- "A Woman In Love" is weakened by Mike Campbell's refusal to play the soaring guitar lick during each chorus. Why, Mike? Why????
- "It's Good To Be King" is now 13 extremely dull minutes long, complete with drab guitar solo and bland keyboard solo
- "Mary Jane's Last Dance" drags on forever. SHADDAP!
- "American Girl" begins with a slow sleazy blues guitar intro
- "I Won't Back Down" is performed without drums (the drummer couldn't stand Petty's obstinance)

Incidentally, why on Earth did the fun'n'speedy original "Drivin' Down To Georgia" remain unreleased for so long? It's a hoot! And speedy? Oh! The speedy. The other rare originals are no shate grakes though: "Lost Without You" is slow and ehh, "Dog On The Run" a superlong dick-around drag.

In conclusion, the last main division of a discourse, usually containing a summing up of the points and a statement of opinion or decisions reached.

Reader Comments

harlemloverleon@yahoo.com
I used to have sex with tom Petty. This was back when fucking your own shit was popular. I never saw Tom Petty perform music live only other stuff live.

Add your thoughts?


Mojo - Reprise 2010
Rating = 6


There are some people that you can look at and just know that they've got those way low down dirty boogie woogie blues. BB King, The California Raisins, Jim Belushi -- the list goes on, but one thing is for certain: they all wear sunglasses. And that's how I knew from the moment I first saw Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More" video 25 years ago that he had those way low down dirty boogie woogie blues. Then again, Bob Dylan was singing "Just Like Tom Petty's Thumb Blues" all the way back in the '60s, about the time Tom got his thumb stuck in a Mr. Pibb bottle. But did you take note of Tom Petty's way low down dirty boogie woogie blues when they were still at an early enough stage to respond positively to treatment? Of course not, because you never look at the facts. And that's the difference between you and the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs said to themselves, "Since our biggest enemies are the fish, let's kill ourselves, let our remains be compacted into the Earth for thousands of years, and then all bust loose from a British Petroleum offshore platform and murder them." Say what you will about the dinosaurs, but their Mama didn't raise no dodos.

:7D

:7(

This album is Tom Petty's attempt to play electric blues-rock of the sort stolen from black people by the Yardbirds, Cream, Rolling Stones, Animals, Led Zeppelin and Fabulous Thunderbirds. In other words, it's an excuse for the band to not bother writing any new riffs or vocal melodies. They throw in a few ballads and jazzy minor-key things for breathing space, but more than half of the 15 songs are plain old 12-bar fuckleberries of various design. Such design includes:

- Fast Bouncy Boogie-Woogie Blooze: "Jefferson Jericho Blues," "Running Man's Bible," "Candy"
- Slow Bland Electric Blooze: ""Takin' My Time," "Lover's Touch"
- Acoustic Delta Blooze: "U.S. 41"
- Booker T. & the MG's-style Soul-Blues: "Let Yourself Go"
- Heavy Zep Blooze Rock: "I Should Have Known It," complete with breaks stolen from "When The Levee Breaks" and "Heartbreaker." Did they realize they were stealing breaks from two songs with 'break' in the title? This world will never know.
- Not Blooze, But It Sounds Like The Eagles So BLERAEAGH!: "No Reason To Cry"

Though I completely understand Mr. Petty's interest in creating a record that is completely unique in his catalog, I find it unfortunate that he chose a subgenre so stylistically and melodically confining. Tom's greatest strength has always been his ability to churn out catchy yet original melodies. By suppressing this creativity in order to stay true to the electric blues tradition, he's succeeded only in making an album that anybody could make. It's 2010 -- does the world really need any more blues music? And if so, should it come from the guy who wrote "American Girl"?

Aside from the good vibes of the uptempo boogie woogies ("Candy" even sounds like Sesame Street!), the only things saving Mojo from complete worthlessness are the dark jazz rockers "First Flash Of Freedom," "The Trip To Pirate's Cove" and "Don't Pull Me Over," all of which suggest the possibility of a MUCH different (and better) record than this one.

I'm seeing Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers live for the first time in just a few weeks. I pray that they only play a few songs from this record.

Because I really want to hear them do Yes Sir, I Will by Crass! Come on Mike Campbell, untune that guitar and just throw it around, I wanna hear about anarchy.

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