The Petty Archives

Tom Petty | Highway Companion | (American) | 4/5
By Dave Simpson
The Guardian - Friday, July 21, 2006

Tom Petty's iconic status in America, where he is viewed as a bridge between Bob Dylan and the Byrds, has never been reflected in Britain and, sadly, now never will be. He has announced his retirement from tours and interviews.

However, if the former Heartbreaker's third solo album proves to be his last, he has delivered one of rock's most eloquent goodbyes.

With Petty's Rickenbacker chiming effortlessly, the 12 songs contemplate "time and what it does to you". The latter is most explicit on Down South, where Petty ponders the cost of giving rock "all I have, and a little more". However, he is anything but spent.

Saving Grace and Big Weekend rock effervescently, reclaiming the styles he bequeathed the Strokes and REM.

And only a voice of true experience could deliver Flirting With Time, the most achingly honest moment of an album of beautifully delivered, uncomfortable home truths.