The Petty Archives

Music: Heartbreakers Keep New Promises
Columbia Missourian - July 4, 1981

Tom Petty and the Hearrtbreakers. "Hard Promises."
This fine album's release was delayed by a dispute between Tom Petty and MCA about the disc's list price. Petty wanted it to be $8.98; MCA wanted $9.98. Petty won.

Hard Promises is a winner of an album. It's study, ambitious, and packed with rivering music, lyrics and performances. It's sharp with insights about hard times, hard hearts, hard luck and the hard promises all lovers and losers have to live with. On "The Waiting," the disc's most ambitious track, the singer hs found his lover, but the search was a struggle. "Nightwatchman" is a portrait of a man on society's edge, uncertain of his inner security. "Something Big" tells about a man who went over the edge. "Insider," the album's most beautiful moment (with a harmony vocal by Stevie Nicks), is a haunting regret by a lover who has been denied.

Producer Jimmy Iovine has done a great job with the Heartbreakers sound: a fluid wall of guitar, fronted by the austere poignancy of Petty's vocals.