This Week’s Hot CD: Tom Petty’s ‘Highway Companion’
Seattle Post-Intelligencer — Monday, July 24, 2006
Highway Companion (American/WEA) | GRADE: B
Even though he hails from the wrong coast, Petty writes about Los Angeles’ losers and dreamers as effectively as though he’d spent a lifetime being cut off on the 101 by Hummers driven by junior agents from William Morris.
In his finely crafted new solo effort, he gets down to it again with “This Old Town,” a rumination that could’ve been kicked off Neil Young’s “Harvest” for being too much of a downer. This town, Petty sings in a melancholy, beaten-down voice, “ties your hands/ It spikes your drink/I’d say more, but I can’t think.”
It’s one of a dozen haunting, sparingly fleshed-out songs that find Petty facing down mortality and wondering where all the years went. That tone is reflected elsewhere in “Flirting With Time,” a smog-choked last stand set in a place where “shadow men talk a real good game.”