Tom Petty - "Hypnotic Eye" review



Tom Petty - "Hypnotic Eye" review

Postby reeb3 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:10 am

Some full disclosure. I wanted to love this record. Really, really love it! The bad news, I don't love it. The good news is, I do like it and for a 63 year old performer to put out a record of this quality, that's quite a statement. As a fan, it hasn't been since 1999's "Echo," that I've heard a Petty record that demanded repeated listening's. The new records that have followed, 2002's "The Last D.J.," 2006's "Highway Companion," and 2010's "MOJO," have all been for me, highly disappointing albums. I prefered 2008's "Mudcrutch" record, Petty's reboot of his early '70's band. In the run up to the release of "Hypnotic Eye," Petty mentioned repeatedly that it was a true rock record and that it harken's back to the first 2 Heartbreaker's records. Well, it is the most rocking record they've done in a long time, but it really sounds nothing like the first 2 albums.

However, the first 3 tracks on "Hypnotic Eye" jump out of the gate with a power and urgency that Petty hasn't shown in a long time. "American Dream Plan B" jumps into "Fault Lines" and then into "Red River" with a fuzzy guitar attack that keeps you wanting more. And that's when the 4th track slides into a jazz influenced shuffle, "Full Grown Boy.""Hypnotic Eye" is easily the most political album Petty has ever recorded. Songs like, "American Dream Part B," "Burnt Out Town," "Power Drunk,""Forgotten Man" and "Shadow People," all touch on the difficulties of navigating through the issues of modern day America. But politically, Petty doesn't pick a side. As he sings in "Shadow People,"

"Well I ain't on the left
And I ain't on the right
I ain't even sure
I got a dog in this fight"

Petty however, still isn't backing down. As he sings in the opening track, "American Dream Part B," "I got a dream, I'm gonna fight till I get it right." There are other quality tracks on this album, "Fault Lines" as well as "All I Can Carry" stand out for me, even though you could easily call the latter "Fault Lines Part II." The closest thing to a ballad on the record is "Sins Of My Youth," with the memorable chorus, "I love you more, than the sins of my youth."

While not a blues record, there are traces of "Mojo" on this record, but they're not unwelcome moments. As usual, the Heartbreakers playing is outstanding. And it really is time that Mike Campbell got his due as the guitar genius he is. The "underrated" tag is starting to sound like a back handed compliment.
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Re: Tom Petty - "Hypnotic Eye" review

Postby reeb3 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:47 am

"Hypnotic Eye" has debuted at Number 1 on Billboards Top 200 album charts. It's the first time Petty has occupied the top spot on this chart in his 38 year career.
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Re: Tom Petty - "Hypnotic Eye" review

Postby semeraro » Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:03 am

Interesting how classic bands can have popularity spikes. The classic example was the Beach Boys in the mid-1970s. They went from being an out-of-flavor afterthought to 4 top 10 albums to irrelevant afterthought again in the space of about 3 years between 1974 and 1977. I saw a Tom Petty tribute band at a concert in the park last week. Age appropriate guys with really long hair (or wigs, maybe). I was there with the drummer in my band and our families. Our wives said we were going to have to grow our hair if we wanted to play this type of gig! The lead singer was pretty good, and the band was ok. Apparently, tribute bands are really popular. They get paid a lot more than cover bands.
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