MUSIC REVIEW: Tom Petty’s ‘Hypnotic Eye’

By  //  October 9, 2014

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REVIEWED BY M. Alberto Rivera

ABOVE VIDEO: Listen to Tom Petty’s Hypnotic Eye entire album. Opening with “American Dream Plan B,” it growls and bristles with a demented lo-fi feeling distortion which feels so 1973 garage band aching to be punk, but not really knowing it ‘cuz it ain’t got a name yet. Petty seems to be hopeful when he sings, “My success is anybody’s guess/But like a fool I’m betting on happiness,”

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – I’m not sure who Tom Petty thinks he is, but four decades on, having played alongside rocks luminaries, become a radio standard and regularly camping out on the top forty charts like he owns them; well, here at this point the last thing you really expect him to do is to put out an album sounding like he’s still got something to prove.

I'm not sure who Tom Petty thinks he is, but four decades on, having played alongside rocks luminaries, become a radio standard and regularly camping out on the top forty charts like he owns them; well, here at this point the last thing you really expect him to do is to put out an album sounding like he's still got something to prove.

Four decades on, having played alongside rocks luminaries, become a radio standard and regularly camping out on the top forty charts like he owns them; well, here at this point the last thing you really expect him to do is to put out an album sounding like he’s still got something to prove.

Clearly, being good isn’t good enough.

Hypnotic Eye is hard not to like. Opening with “American Dream Plan B,” it growls and bristles with a demented lo-fi feeling distortion which feels so 1973 garage band aching to be punk, but not really knowing it ‘cuz it ain’t got a name yet.

Petty seems to be hopeful when he sings, “My success is anybody’s guess/But like a fool I’m betting on happiness,”

This is followed immediately by “Fault Lines,” an urgent, white boy appropriation of an R&B beat, sent across the Atlantic and back again to stew in Florida’s swampy goodness.

“All You Can Carry” burns and aches with an urgency you’d expect from a high school band who just stumbled across their first great riff.

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The album from start to finish is an unvarnished batch of songs the likes of which probably filled the shelves of these musicians as they were learning how to play in the first place. Equal parts Byrds, Yardbirds and pre-Exile Stones.

There’s a lot of talk about roots rock revivalists like Jack White, Kings of Leon et. al., but this is far from an re-packaging of old ideas for new faces.

This is Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers reaching deep down into their collective memory of why they picked up instruments in the first place and letting loose with abandon. This sort of songwriting is like muscle memory for these cats; instinctive and thankfully impossible to forget.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M. Alberto Rivera

M. Alberto Rivera

M. Alberto Rivera has attended over 1,000 shows. He is in the possession of an absurd musical collection dating back 1923.

He has performed close to 1,000 shows or so, in a variety of styles from punk and pop, to jam bands and contemporary christian, as well as some others not easily defined.

So if you think he’s naive or uninformed when it comes to his musical opinions, you’re probably right. And he wants you to go ahead and tell him he has no idea what he’s talking about.

To reach Rivera email him at imdaeditor@gmail.com


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