Tom Petty | The Last DJ | (Warner Bros) | Grade: B+
Review by Nick Kiefer
Xavier University Newswire — October 23, 2002
Long wait worth it for new Petty album.
After years of experience in the music business, Tom Petty and his crew really show their audacity in this lyrically aggressive account of the dominating nature of music executives in modern pop culture.
As the Heartbreakers focus on the greed of today’s record companies and corporate businessmen, the classic sounds of Petty’s uniquely-pitched voice and the band’s time-honored guitar resonance are still present after over 25 years of albums. The Last DJ has a noticeably softer sound, in part from the limited amount of unique twanging solos that served as the foundation for many of the group’s earlier works.
This album should strike a chord with college students who could easily identify with Petty’s approach to not only the detestable role of “the boys upstairs” in music, but also to issues such as ticket prices for concerts and the restrictions placed on what songs make it to the radio waves. Also accompanying the frustration over corporate greed and kingship of money is a fully appropriate slap in the face to teen pop starts that are being suggested as being the result of those corporate powers.
A Petty fan would be right at home with this combination of infuriated dialogue with conversely upbeat alternating rhythms. However, one who is naively melancholied by the subject matter of these beginning tracks should not despair, the more positively-natured hopes for loving relationships are wisely situated in the ensuing tracks. The latter songs sway from the traditionally vengeful love stories from this classic rock group. These uplifting songs are probably not for the fans of the more shallow side of pop music of today.
The album would be well-pursued by students who are open-minded and question the lack of voice in the modern corporately-dominated world, as well as for fans of classic rock values looking for a placid modern harvest.