The Petty Archives

Grooves: CD Reviews
By D.R. Klausmeyer
Central Michigan Life - Friday, December 2, 1994

A guide to today's ratings:
★★★★★ Genius at work | ★★★★ Top notch | ★★★ Pretty good | ★★ Missed the mark | ★ Pathetic display

Tom Petty | Wildflowers | Warner Bros.
Music seems to come easy to Tom Petty. At least, when you listen to a Petty record, it's so effortless and uncomplicated you have to wonder how it stayed that way so long. He'll always tell tales of the person he's been and the way people are.

Petty's latest, Wildflowers, is still as true as ever, but its songs carry a little more baggage. Petty has been around for a long time, and in the past few years have come to be recognized as one of American rock's elder statesmen. As a result, there's a little more old sage showing up in his music.

You get the feeling he can write 10 really good songs in the time it takes a budding artist to write just one.

Petty shows even more songwriting breadth than ever -- it's his best body of word since Full Moon Fever. As always, he knows just where to put that steely guitar strum for punch or a subtle harmonica passage for more color.

Rick Rubin's co-production with Petty and Heartbreaker Mike Campbell creates crystal-line sound that makes it feel as though the band is right in your living room. Every note just slices through the air.

Wildflowers is a humbling realization of Petty's potential. It does what every great album should do -- sum up where the artist has been while pushing into new territory. It should make you want to go back and listen to past material, not make it obsolete. Wildflowers leaves you thirsty for more.