By Marty Racine
Houston Chronicle — Sunday, May 24, 1987
Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough) | Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers | MCA
After hearing of the fire that wiped out Tom Petty’s California mansion last weekend (arson is expected) the man gets a sympathy vote for the lyrics that open the album’s first cut, “Jammin’ Me:” “You got me in a corner/You got me against the wall/I got no-where to go/I got No-where to fall/Take back your insurance…”
Odd, how life imitates rock ‘n’ roll.
But Petty, who is expected to fulfill tour plans that bring him to The Summit Saturday, needs no special consideration on this album. Following his joint world tour with Bob Dylan last year, the man is even beginning to sound like Dylan. That collaboration really makes sense in retrospect. But that’s just part of the story on this, the Heartbreakers’ most ambitious album to date. Petty and his longstanding band also assimilate Dire Straits and the Rolling Stones and make it all their own.
Truly, Petty sounds inspired, as these songs roll easily off his latest round of songwriting. After eight albums, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers are a case study of how one can actually keep a band together in rock and mature gracefully without losing the edge.
Remarkably, there are no “special guests” on this LP. This is ain’t no Superstar City, as is all the rage these days.
Jammin’ Me is a lively, halting blast made for radio but gives no indication as to what follows. “It’ll All Work Out” is a plaintive yet lilting piece with what sounds like mandolin. That’s followed by a dobro-like bridge that crosses into a cool disco-rock number, “My Life/Your World”, on which the guitar lead owes everything to Dire Strait’s Mark Knopfler.
A Self-Made Man on Side 2 is not the best cut, but it sums up Petty’s style. An ominous, almost bluesy verse gives way to a bright, pop-rock chorus. Petty is a pop musician in the truest and best sense, but there are dark undertones, and the band knows how to rock.
The rest of Side 2 is pure rock, Petty-style, while the closer and title cut reminds me of the Stones.
This album flows. The lyrics seem almost stream-of-conscious. Everything is compatible, unforced. After eight years, Petty and the Heartbreakers know what they want out of a pop tune. (4 ½ stars)