The Petty Archives

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | Songs and Music from the Motion Picture 'She's the One' |  (Warner Bros. 46285)
By J.D. Considine
The Baltimore Sun -- August 8, 1996

Few rockers have as much fun with form as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers do. On "Songs and Music From the Motion Picture 'She's the One,' " Petty and the boys do a bit of everything, from dramatic, wide-screen story-songs ("Grew Up Fast") to droll, Dylanesque ravers ("Zero From Outer Space") to the chiming, Byrds-influenced pop we normally associate with him ("California"). Heck, they even take a stab at lounge jazz on one track (the brief, moody instrumental "Airport"). That makes it great fun to play spot-the-influence with various tracks -- counting the Simon & Garfunkel-isms sprinkled through "Angel Dream (No. 4)" or noting how "Hung Up and Overdue" slides from its "Sgt. Pepper"-style chorus to a grand, "Pet Sounds" finale -- but focusing on such surface details makes it easy to miss the album's depths. As with Curtis Mayfield's "Superfly," it's hard to tell how much of this album is meant to illustrate the film's story, and how much is Petty's comment on the characters -- particularly since five of these 15 songs don't appear in the movie at all. Is the cover of Lucinda Williams' coolly paranoid "Change the Locks" a dig at the film hero's obsessive pursuit of his lady love? When he sings, in "Walls (Circus)," that his lover has "a heart so big/It could crush this town," is that a compliment or a sly complaint? And what are we to make of the alternate versions of "Walls" and "Angel Dream"? Petty isn't saying, but then, he doesn't have to -- each question is just one more reason to replay this delightful disc.