The Ithacan — September 3, 1981

For Summer Fun — Some Are Reruns
By Robert Cushing
The Ithacan — September 3, 1981

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers | Hard Promises
The Waiting is one of the most memorable songs ever written. Tom Petty’s musical vein stretches years of popular songwriting, covering The Byrds, The Searchers, and even a little Mindbenders thrown in.

With its 12-string guitar opening to its glorious Mike Campbell solo, The Waiting is representative of Tom Petty’s best stuff. Unfortunately, the rest of Hard Promises is a real letdown. And it pains me to say it — but some of it is downright embarrassing.

Granted, Petty can’t pull off ten “Waitings” on one album. But I never expected vapid lyrics and boring melodies from the same guy that has brought us American Girl and Listen To Her Heart. And of course, the anticipation of his new album is enlarged by the fact that Damn the Torpedoes is about as complete in context as an album can get; every song is good, and some are absolutely mindboggling. With all of this said, I might go as far as to say Tom Petty is one of the premier songwriters of our day. And he certainly can play live with the best of them.

But Hard Promises isn’t a complete failure. It might even turn out to be Petty’s most commercially successful album to date. Artistically, however, Petty has fallen from grace on this one. Maybe it’s just the fact that he tries too hard to please everyone.

Keep an eye out for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. His next album has the potential to be his best due to his previous output. And the waiting will be the hardest part.

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