The Daily Californian — October 24, 2002

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | The Last DJ | [Warner Brothers]
By Rich Bunnell
The Daily Californian — Thursday, October 24, 2002

Tom Petty is one of the few classic rockers who has enough credibility with the kids these days to be able to lash out at the record industry without seeming like a disgruntled old windbag. You can bet that Styx won’t be trying anything like this anytime soon.

That said, the latest album from everyone’s favorite chronically-unshaven rock icon, hyped as his Big Statement against the evils of the corporate music world, comes off as a bit too obvious and ham-fisted when he tries to bite the hand that feeds him.

It was one thing when Tom wrenchingly declared “Everybody’s got to fight to be free” during his famous court battle against MCA in 1979. When he takes on the role of a greedy record company executive named “Joe” and shouts “You get to be famous, I get to be rich!”, however, one begins to crave the subtlety that once came hand-in-hand with the guy’s lyrics.

Still, as far as the actual music is concerned, it sounds basically like every single other Petty album, which is definitely a good thing. The Heartbreakers have had a remarkably consistent career, and this album is no exception. The lighter side of Petty’s songwriting works wonders on gorgeous numbers like “Dreamville,” and the bouncy “The Man Who Loves Women.”

In other words, all pretenses of anti-industry propaganda aside, Tom’s pretty much still the same guy he’s been for the last twenty-five years… as if any of us expected anything different.

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