The Petty Archives

Petty stumbles with new disc
By James Muretich
The Calgary Herald - Saturday, March 23, 1985

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Southern Accents (MCA). Following a three-year hiatus between records, one would expect Tom Petty to explode out of the gate with his new release.

Petty, however, is content to truck out the same old tambourine and jingle-jangle guitar sounds as well as his (to paraphrase a famous saying about war) life-is-hell lyrics.

In fact, the best thing about his new work is David A. Stewart. The scruffy maestro of the Eurythmics briefly abandons Annie Lennox for Petty (why?) and manages to push him into progressive territory on the three tunes they co-wrote.

Here Petty allows his R & B side to surface, creating the kind of emotions missing elsewhere. The best number is the album's first single, Don't Come Around Here No More, a funky rocker full of colorful musical touches (Stewart on sitar) and some marvelously moody background vocals.

Unfortunately, as soon as Stewart leaves Petty on his own, he stumbles. The songs break no new ground and his whining about love and society grates on one's nerves.

Basically, Tom Petty just doesn't sound as hungry as he used to be.
(Rating: D)