The Petty Archives

Reviews & Previews: Albums
Edited by Paul Verna
Billboard - April 17, 1999

Tom Petty | Echo | Producer: Rick Rubin | Warner Bros 47294
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers come back swingin' on their latest album, which follows their brilliant -- though commercially disappointing -- soundtrack to "She's The One." As hard-rocking as "Damn the Torpedoes" and as refined as "Full Moon Fever," "Echo" reflects all the facets of Petty's talent, from his jangly side (the Warren Zevon-esque "Accused Of Love" and the Roger McGuinn-reminiscent "This One's For You") to his psychedelic bent (title track) to his power pop sensibilities (lead single "Free Girl Now" and "About To Give Out"). Other highlights include the Neil Young-inspired epic "Swingin'," the Mike Campbell-written and -sung rocker "I Don't Wanna Fight," and the brooding "Room At The Top." Seemingly energized by a burst of created inspiration and by their decision to play small venues, Petty ad the band are in rare form -- a veteran rock group at a new peak. An album that deserves a long and steady run at rock radio, with crossover potential at adult top 40 and triple-A.