Wilmington Star-News — December 14, 1994

Record Review: More Quirky, Compelling Music From Tom Petty
By Larry Nager
Wilmington Star-News — December 14, 1994

“Wildflowers” Tom Petty (Warner Bros)
Tom Petty remains something of a Traveling Wilbury on his first solo album for Warner Bros. It’s a sprawling, 15-song collection that opens with the title track’s lilting, idyllic love song before getting down to the raucous, reckless “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” with its honking, Dylanesque harmonica and a chorus that runs “So let’s get to the point, let’s roll another joint, and head on down the road.”

“Wildflowers” is an album filled with regrets, and the song titles tell the story — “Time to Move On,” “You Wreck Me,” “Don’t Fade on Me,” “Hard on Me,” “Crawling Back to You.”

But the man who helped save guitar rock in the late ’70s doesn’t forget to turn it up on the bluesy “Honey Bee” and the bouncy rocker “Higher Place.”

The centerpiece of the album, however, is the stunning “Only a Broken Heart,” as Petty captures the bittersweet soul of John Lennon’s best Beatle ballads. It’s the most beautiful song of Petty’s career, as his rasp gives way to a sweet falsetto, singing “What would I give to start all over again, to clean up my mistakes.”

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