Review: Petty puts out best effort
By Christopher Leonardi
The Jambar - May 22, 1987
The most accurate way of evaluating a new release by any artist is to wait two or three years and then see how the material holds up against that ultimate critic -- time. But if initial reactions indicate anything, the new album from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is guaranteed to be considered among his best efforts and among the better rock albums of the year. Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) proves that Petty is versatile enough to keep up with the ever-changing music scene and more importantly, he is able to retain the sound that first brought him his acclaim eleven years ago. The energy level from the band on this new release is none other than astounding.
Once again, the Heartbreakers keep their reputation intact. After last years' extremely successful tour with Bob Dylan, the band remains one of the most talented and tightened units in the business. On this album the band shows that they have grown as artists and explored new areas without commercializing their sound. This is an extremely difficult task to accomplish. In recent years it has become commonplace to see the likes of artists such as Mick Jagger or The Moody Blues releasing products aimed at a contemporary market, only to lose fans because of the inferior quality of the music produced. The Heartbreakers will lose no fans over this one -- in fact, they should gain some.
The albums' strength lies in the straight-forward rockers that were missing from his last studio release, Southern Accents. This album is being widely recognized as his return to form and justly so. "Jammin' Me," co-written with Dylan, is the most powerful cut on the album and the obvious single.
This tune rocks as hard musically as it bites lyrically, as it takes stabs at everything from Apple computers to comedians Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo. "The Damage You've Done" is another straight-ahead is another straight-ahead rocker that recaptures the sound of the earlier Petty albums as is "Think About Me." The title cut, "Let Me Up" is reminiscent of the Rolling Stones' (remember them?) "Exile" period and is probably the best pure rock and roll song from Petty in years.
Some of the tunes stray a bit from the guitar-based edge and lean more towards a contemporary sound, with the best of these being "Runaway Trains" -- a cleverly crafted song that will probably be the next single.
The album does have weak spots (as will most albums that try and cover such a wide range of styles) and it does not compare with that quintessential Heartbreakers LP, Damn the Torpedoes. "My Life/Your World" begins with an annoying base line that sounds like something Michael Jackson might have done and "All Mixed Up" is another example of a pop-style tune falling short of the mark.
When all is said and done, however, this album should prove successful -- both commercially and more importantly, among Petty's many fans. Unlike most of today's recording artists, Petty proves that he is in fact versatile enough to cover such ground successfully. By the way, don't miss the show at Blossom on June 23. Despite the fact that his California mansion caught on fire, the show will go on as planned. The Georgia Satellites and Del Fuegos will be opening up and tickets are still available.