The Snapper — October 24, 2002

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Petty’s Last DJ rocks
By Matthew Brubaker
The Snapper — October 24, 2002

Over the past 25 years the music world has seen many artists and styles rise to fame and, at some point, fade away. There was the classic rock og the 1970’s, the hair metal and “new wave” bands of the 1980’s, the Seattle grunge scene in the early 90’s, the recent explosion of boy bands and “nu” metal and finally there’s Tom Petty. An artist who has lasted through all these trends and is still able to write great music.

On Oct. 8, Tom Petty released his thirteenth studio album entitled, The Last DJ. The CD contains 12 tracks and is just about 50 minutes long. The title of the album hints at its theme: the music industry is at its all time low. He is addressing the fact that money controls the airwaves today. The industry is more about business than music; it’s more concerned with money than art. Today, dj’s on commercial radio do not have the freedom to play whatever songs they want. They are required to promote certain bands and songs. (That’s why you should listen to WIXQ. It’s all about the music.) This concept is much different from the way things were when Petty was making a name for himself. Petty feels that this control of corporations threatens out freedom of choice, and he shares his hope of things returning to the way they used to be.

In the album’s first single, and title track, Petty sings “There goes the last DJ/who wants to play what he wants to play/and says what he wants to say/hey, hey, hey/there goes the freedom of choice/there goes the last human voice/there goes the last DJ.” This anti-radio anthem is one of the more upbeat songs on the album, and definitely one of the better songs.

The second song on the album, “Money Becomes King,” is another track worth listening to. It’s a ballad about the ridiculous price of concert tickets and how sponsorships have bands doing all sorts of crazy things. Lines like “How could we have known/they’d double the price of tickets/to go see Johnny’s show,” express Petty’s attitude that money is the enemy to concert goers and king to the bands.

The eighth song, “Blue Sunday,” is short but sweet. Petty is reflecting about a road trip on “a blue Sunday/blue with shades of gray.” The song is acoustic and would be perfect to put on a mixed tape for that special someone. If nothing else, it might inspire you to get in your car and head down the highway.

The next song, “You and Me,” is definitely my favorite song on the album. It’s an upbeat acoustic song. What makes this song so great, though, is the lyrics. They are simple but just right. The song structure and sound is very similar to the songs on the album “Wildflowers.” If you don’t plan on purchasing the album you should at least download this song.

If I had to rate this album on a scale from one to ten, it would definitely be at least an eight. It’s a great CD to put in and play the whole way through. There are hints of The Beatles, Elliot Smith and even the Grateful Dead. Aside from the great songs mentioned above, some other noteworthy tracks are “Dreamville,” “Like a Diamond” and “Lost Children.” Going along with the great music is the CD’s layout. It’s black cardboard, and white, and includes the lyrics. What else could anyone ask for. This album has a little something for everyone, some songs about growing up and some songs about the corrupt music industry. Support Tom Petty and go buy the CD, or fight the music world and download it. Either way, The Last DJ will be great addition to your collection.

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