The Petty Archives

Editor's Note: This article confuses me. The authorial note at the end mentions the writer is in 11th grade, yet this isn't a student newspaper. And for some reason, I also get the impression that he doesn't like Tom's voice. 

Music: Petty's 'Wildflowers' shows little musical talent
By Chris Pruitt
Ocala Star-Banner - November 28, 1994

Tom Petty has been one of several musical stars to come out of Gainesville. Beginning his career in 1976, he and his band, The Heartbreakers, released their first self-titled album. It had several good songs on it, such as "American Girl" and "Breakdown," but he still was not what most would call famous.

His career continued even though he remained in the shadows. In 1989, he made an album without the Heartbreakers entitled "Full Moon Fever." With songs like "Free Fallin'" and "I Won't Back Down," he became an overnight success.

The next album he recorded was with the Heartbreakers entitled, "Into the Great Wide Open." This album also did very well and he got two hits out of it, the title song and "Learning to Fly."

His next project was to compile a "Greatest Hits" album, released in 1993. Part of what made the album do so well is that they added two new tracks, one of which went to No. 1 on the Billboard, "Mary Jane's Last Dance" became a classic in a matter of weeks and was heard on the radio stations constantly.

Now Tom Petty has released a new album, entitled "Wildflowers." This album is one of the worse I have heard in a long time. Tom Petty's horrible voice is so monotonous at times, it is sickening.

The album opens with the title track. this ends up being one of the best songs on the album, even though it was not very good. The song starts with acoustic guitars and it sounds pretty good. Then the song is ruined when Tom Petty begins to sing. The words of this song are pretty stupid and his likeness to Bob Dylan is disgusting.

The next song on the album is "You Don't Know How It Feels." The music is very good in this song, and the words aren't too bad. But Tom Petty's voice is not right for this song. (There are very few songs for which it is.)

"Time To Move On" is one of the worst songs I have ever heard. Tom Petty tries to sound like the classic folk singers, but falls very short with a bad melody line and dumb words. "Honey Bee" has some potential to be a good song, if a good blues singer would remake it.

"Don't Fade On Me" opens very much like the Led Zeppelin classic, "Going to California." But as can be expected, it falls very short. It develops a bluesy sound about a minute into the song. But Petty's voice, combined with stupid words, once again ruins a potentially good song.

The rest of the album continues in this same pattern. Many of the songs start off good and then are ruined by either ridiculous words or by his Dylan-like voice. The music to most of these songs was pretty good, suggesting that the talent in the band lies in Mike Campbell.

It would not be wise to buy this album unless you happen to love Tom Petty. While he has had several good songs in the past, there are probably not to be any from this album. ★½