The Petty Archives

Editor's Note: "Midnight Snack" is a radio show.

Old and New Voices Premier on Midnight Snack
By Phil King
The Colgate Maroon - November 9, 1982

Sunday: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Long After Dark
Tom Petty's second album since the breakthrough Damn the Torpedoes contains no big surprises -- which is to say, fine songwriting and execution, as always. Petty is an established member of the mainsteam who's able to make his hard-fought appenticeship in the business pay off; his work has a keen sense for the strong riff and melody line, tight playing and seamless production, as he all the while doggedly insists against the notion that rock has anything to do with Art. Like Hard Promises, Long After Dark continues to explore themes of personal crisis, despondance and the state of feeling beleaguered by life, usually within the context of a relationship. Phrases like "Faraway feeling," "hands of fate," "there was nothin', only black sky" and "I don't think pain is so romantic" pop up all over the place on this record, and the lonely-boy spirit of it all would be wearisome if not for the expressiveness of Petty's writing.

Musically, Long After Dark reverts to the hard-driving style of Torpedoes' "Century City" and "Don't Do Me Like That." The teaming of Petty's marvelous North-Florida drawl with the Heartbreakers' flawless professionalism is as enticing as ever. The band rocks out on "We Stand a Chance," "Finding Out" and "The Same Old You." The standout cut, "You Got Lucky," gets a strolling pace underneath a nice synth loop (Petty's first use of the synthesizer) and strumming guitar. It's hard to explain just how good this song is ... so I suggest pumping your radio at the appointed time and enjoying it first hand.