Album review: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Mojo"
By Allison Stewart
Tom Petty's last album with the Heartbreakers predates the invasion of Iraq, though it may not seem like it was all that long ago. In the years since, Petty has been a constant presence - touring, taping voiceovers for the TV show "King of the Hill," recording a solo album, reuniting with his old group Mudcrutch and generally doing everything except the thing he does best - making records with the Heartbreakers.
"Mojo," their first album together in almost eight years, is the Petty equivalent of a jam band record: It's swampy and Southern, by turns languid and languidly rocking. It takes the sort of songs Petty and the Heartbreakers usually do, strips out most of their hooks and puts them in the rustic, bluesy framework of a Lucinda Williams record.
Rarely riotous, never thrilling, entirely solid, "Mojo" traffics in the everyday indignities of middle age. Petty worries about unemployment (the rueful ballad "Something Good Coming"), frets about relationships ("I Should Have Known It") and hides his weed from The Man (the island-influenced "Don't Pull Me Over," the forgettable, less ominous cousin of Springsteen's "State Trooper").
Reportedly recorded live (with the band members all playing in the same room together), "Mojo" is the first album the perpetually chill Petty has ever made that's as mellow as he is. It's as casual, as artfully mussed, as a bunch of multimillionaire rock gods recording their umpteenth album for a major label can manage.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers perform at Jiffy Lube Live on Aug. 15.
Recommended tracks: "Something Good Coming," "Jefferson Jericho Blues"
June 15, 2010; 9:15 AM ET
Categories: Quick spins | Tags: Tom Petty
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