Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tom Petty "Hypnotic Eye" Review / Tribute

Back in 2014, I embarked on a journey to contribute to a site called "Tinseltown or Bust".    This journey would be short-lived, however, as the site was quickly disbanded and I only managed to contribute one review for them.   That one review was Tom Petty's "Hypnotic Eye".    I've tried to find it via Google search but everything from TTOB seems to be wiped from ever existing.    So here I present to you something which you might be reading for the first time but can now read forever.     There will certainly never be another Tom Petty.  

            The first album I owned by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was their Greatest Hits from 1993.   While I had heard a lot of different songs by Tom Petty on the radio and seen his videos on Mtv, I wasn’t entirely sure of just how many songs of his I did know until I listened to that collection.    From that point on, I went out of my way to get every album Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers put out, starting with “Wildflowers” and up until “Mojo”, which was perhaps one of the most underrated releases of 2010. 

                Certain artists have a way of hitting their peak and then just seemingly putting out meaningless, throwaway albums after that, to be met in concert with ideas of playing only “the old stuff”.    Why some can seemingly continue to put out music without generating the same level of buzz is beyond me, but Tom Petty has always been a solid songwriter who has only grown better with age.

                “Hypnotic Eye”, to which I was given an exclusive listen, opens up with a song called “American Dream Plan B” and it is just classic Petty.   In one verse, he manages to address the exact issue of his success by singing:

                                          “My success
                                                Is anyone's guess
                                                But like a fool
                                                I'm betting on happiness”

                Another song such as “Fault Lines” showcases his distinctive voice, while also managing to keep that fast pace he developed all those years ago along the lines of earlier hits such as “Runaway” and “American Girl”.    “Full Grown Boy” brings out that bluesy side of rock n roll that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are known for best.

                For modern bands out there trying to generate success like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have, I suggest they listen to “Hypnotic Eye” in full, as it has the encompassing glow that an album should.   It knows when to speed up, when to slow down and just in general where to take you.    Structuring an album in such a manner these days really seems to be a lost art. 

                While most musicians seem to have trouble withstanding the course of time, Tom Petty is one of the rare few who have made it.   Generating a sense of cool, his timeless personality mixed with easily accessible lyrics and melodies makes for something more than just a bunch of new songs with fans still clamoring for the old hits they know and love.

                Right now, some young fan out there discovering music could be listening to Tom Petty for the first time and this could be their “Widlflowers”.    And that’s the thing about Tom Petty- and what makes him so great and truly a music legend- is that he never really did peak.  

                Some might say “Full Moon Fever” was his best album because it was the first they heard, others might argue for “Damn the Torpedoes”.    For me, it’s been twenty years since I first bought “Wildflowers”.   A teenager right now will be hearing “Hypnotic Eye” for the first time when it releases on July 29th, 2014 and surely will be making these same comparisons twenty years down the line.

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