The Petty Archives

Unabridged: Critics choose best albums of year
Review by Jeff Callan
The Miami Student - Friday, December 11, 1981

As the year draws to a close, 1981's virtual cornucopia of albums has begun to taper off with a now-routine blitz of greatest hits Christmas packages. The critics of UNABRIDGED thought this would be a good time to seize the advantages of hindsight and rank their top album choices for the year.
The critics don't pretend to be intimate with all albums released in 1981. Indeed, listening to more than a small fraction of the year's output would be prohibitively time-consuming. They have attempted, instead, to keep a finger on the pulse of "important" albums, while listening for new and different sounds (which might never get radio airplay).
All lists are indulgently subjective, but -- after all -- isn't that what the appreciation of music is all about?

No. 1. Hard Promises by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. This set combines the Byrds-like sound of the '60s with the hard edge of the '80s. Raw, tender and passionate.