Tom Petty And The HeartBreakers - Greatest Hits (Vinyl

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Since Full Moon Fever was an unqualified commercial and critical success, perhaps it made sense that Tom Petty chose to follow its shiny formula when he reunited with the Heartbreakers for its follow-up, Into the Great Wide Open. Nevertheless, the familiarity of Into the Great Wide Open is something of a disappointment. The Heartbreakers' sound has remained similar throughout their career, but they had never quite repeated themselves until here. Technically, it isn't a repeat, since they weren't credited on Full Moon, but Wide Open sounds exactly like Full Moon, thanks to Jeff Lynne's overly stylized production. Again, it sounds like a cross between latter-day ELO and roots rock (much like the Traveling Wilburys, in that sense), but the production has become a touch too careful and precise, bordering on the sterile at times. And, unfortunately, the quality of the songwriting doesn't match Full Moon or Let Me Up (I've Had Enough). That's not to say that it rivals the uninspired Long After Dark, since Petty was a better craftsman in 1991 than he was in 1983. There are a number of minor gems -- "Learning to Fly," "Kings Highway," "Into the Great Wide Open" -- but there are no knockouts, either; it's like Full Moon Fever if there were only "Apartment Song"s and no "Free Fallin'"s. In other words, enough for a pleasant listen, but not enough to resonate like his best work. (And considering this, perhaps it wasn't surprising that Petty chose to change producers and styles on his next effort, the solo Wildflowers.)

Wow. This one was played a lot. Into the Great Wide Open was a Top 10 album in my country and certainly a Top 3 album in my circle of friends. I had liked Full Moon Fever, but I guess I was always more into ...the Great Wide Open. The album is so positively self-assured; it can be heard that Tom, Jeff and the Heartbreakers knew they could make an excellent album and that is what they certainly made. Since, let's say, 1994 there have been several more important musical influences in my life than Tom Petty, the Heartbreakers or Traveling Wilburys, whose overall feel this album evidently reflects, and I wouldn't name Into the Great Wide Open as a Top 10 or even Top 20 album of the decade. However, I keep on coming back to it now and then.

My favourite tracks include "Learning to Fly" (of course, it always was), "Too Good to Be True", "Out in the Cold" (I guess the heaviest track Jeff Lynne ever produced since the early ELO days), "The Dark of the Sun", "Kings Highway", the title track... Of my one time favourites, only "All the Wrong Reasons" has faded a bit, it showcases the limits of Tom's vocal capacities. On the other hand, "Built to Last" sounds better now than back then. "All or Nothin'" is the only track on the album I never really liked, and I still don't. Many of Tom's lyrics are relatively poor, like they always were, full of such Americanisms that would sound ridiculous on a European record. But fortunately, that has no impact to the sound.

By: Fairyeee

A1 Learning To Fly
A2 Kings Highway
A3 Into The Great Wide Open
A4 Two Gunslingers
A5 The Dark Of The Sun
A6 All Or Nothin'
B1 All The Wrong Reasons
B2 Too Good To Be True
B3 Out In The Cold
B4 You And I Will Meet Again
B5 Makin' Some Noise
B6 Built To Last


Recorded at Rumbo Recorders, Studio C, Canoga Park, California.
Mastered at Future Disc Systems, Hollywood, California.
Geffen Records - 00602547658647 - 180gm vinyl