Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
- Warner Bros.
Here's to one of the few rock artists who's actually getting better with age. At 48, Tom Petty has grown in stature with every year, all thanks to his southern gentleman demeanor and a relentless rock 'n' roll heart. His latest album is as gutsy, gritty and guitar-driven as always and finds Petty exploring themes of loneliness and disillusionment in a straight-ahead style that owes nothing to fashion. Time has turned him into a better songwriter, which is especially apparent on the magnificent title track, a tale of lost faith and broken trust that's sung in a slow deep drawl, complete with Dylan-esque phrasing. That and other gems like the downhearted slow churn of “Room at the Top” — a sort of “In My Room” for disaffected adults — and the full force fury of the lead radio track “Free Girl Now” help make this one of the most impressive albums of Petty's illustrious career.