The Petty Archives

Recordings: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | Echo | (Warner)
By Greg Kot
Chicago Tribune - April 11, 1999

Over 12 albums, Tom Petty has recycled the sound of his favorites over and over again: the Stones, the Byrds, Dylan, the Beatles. And he keeps returning to his favorite theme: the difficulty of maintaining independence in a world that won't easily allow it. That said, "Echo" is retro in the best possible way, with the Heartbreakers digging in their heels, stubbornly defying trends and playing the garage band again on ravers such as "Free Girl Now" and "I Don't Wanna Fight." Oddly enough, the quietest moments are where "Echo" hits the hardest. When Petty drawls, "I've got a room at the top of the world tonight/And I ain't comin' down," he sounds as defiant as an outlaw making his last stand.