Pop Albums: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | She’s The One | Warner Bros 9362-46285-2
London Independent — Friday, August 16, 1996
Commissioned to write a song for the feature-film debut of Jennifer Aniston (least appealing of the babes from Friends), Tom Petty was apparently so inspired by the romantic comedy in question that he exceeded his brief and wrote the entire soundtrack.
The results barely waver a fraction of a degree from his usual course, though surprisingly, given the film’s nominal status as comedy, there appears less room than usual for the singer’s wry sardonicism.
Stylistically, he still has a firm lock on Sixties folk-rock modes – the opener “Walls (Circus)” is a pleasant Byrdsy jangle, tempered by the dry fatalism of Petty’s lyric and delivery, while the Dylanesque rocker “Zero From Outer Space” features Mike Campbell doing a creditable impression of Mike Bloomfield in his guitar break.
Outside that territory, the results are less impressive – “Climb That Hill” is an unthrilling grunge trudge which sits poorly round Petty’s shoulders, and the ponderous menace of “Supernatural Radio” pointlessly tries to re-invent the wheel which Neil Young perfected long ago on Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.
For all that, She’s The One is a more appealing work than its predecessor, Wildflowers; the discipline of the project has focused Petty’s attentions profitably on the thorny terrain of relationships, to which he brings a defiantly defeatist attitude, though not without a certain lugubrious charm.
Time and again, the choruses of these songs bear the bruises of failed love affairs – “She’ll do anything… to make you feel like an asshole”, “I hope you never fall in love with someone like you”, and the more drastic “I changed the name of this town/ So you can’t follow me down”.
I have no idea what the film is about, but judging by the tone of the soundtrack, quite a few Kleenex could be mush before the obligatory happy ending.