The Petty Archives

Discs: At last, a movie soundtrack that doesn't disappoint
By Brian McCollum and Steve Byrne
The Day - September 1, 1996

She's the One soundtrack | Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers | Warner Bros.
High-profile movie soundtracks are continual sources of disappointment: Often promising tasty loot from big names, they rarely amount to more than arbitrary collections of blah leftovers and filler from acts who prefer saving their good stuff for their own albums.

But give somebody like Tom Petty free rein over a soundtrack's assembly, and you just may get a winner. And that's the case with "She's the One," an intoxicating collection of sweet, laid-back tunes that click because, oddly enough, Petty doesn't try too hard.

Gone are the clumsy, if well-intentioned, stabs at rod godliness that have marked Petty the last couple of years (radio champs like "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and "It's Good to Be King"). In their place are some of his finest pecks at brilliance since 1989's "Full Moon Fever." With "Wildflowers" producer Rick Rubin back behind the board, Petty exploits the fact that he's working on somebody else's project (Edward Burns' soon-to-be-released love film) and milks every ounce of creative freedom. For many artists, that's a license to overindulge, but with someone as pleasantly homey -- and smart -- as Petty, things are kept earnestly in check.

A couple of songs get double treatments: Glorious track "Walls (Circus") opens the album with a crunchy, jangly flourish -- with just about every Beatle-ism tossed into its mix -- and returns late in the disc for a straighter, less ornamented trip. "Angel Dream," one of the prettiest I-love-love declarations Petty's ever declared, is delivered with and without stringed accompaniment.

It's not all serious stuff: "Zero From Outer Space," a fun ripsnorter that finds common turf between the Stones circa '72 and "The Who Sell Out," helps keep things giddy. Guests include Lindsey Buckingham, who tacks harmony vocals onto three tracks, and Ringo Starr, who lays lethargic drums onto the dreamy "Hung Up and Overdue."