East Los Angeles College Campus News — October 31, 1979
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers new album, “Damn the Torpedoes,” is a big disappointment.
For a veteran band, they should know better than to put one good song among so many mediocre tunes on an album.
“Don’t Do Me Like That” has all the ingredients for a hit single. Good vocals, a catchy melody, and a name band behind it.
But the other songs just don’t compare. More like shouting than singing, “Here Comes My Girl” is the worst. The song is much too long because half of it is repetitions of the title.
“Even the Losers” sounds like it was written especially for the Bay City Rollers. This is odd, because Petty himself wrote it. The singing he does for this song also sounds like the Rollers lead vocalist.
Another song that sounds like another group did it is “Century City.” This time it’s the Beatles playing “Rock ‘n’ Roll Music.” What distinguishes this song is a good guitar solo by Mike Campbell.
“Louisiana Rain” has a country-western flavor to itm but mostly it’s rock and roll. Petty plays an outstanding harmonica solo on this song.
At least these three songs are a try at something different. The rest of the songs are boring, unimaginative, and repetitious.
Two songs in particular sound so alike, the listener would think they were the same one.
“Here Comes My Girl” has the title sung repeatedly throughout the song. “Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid)” starts out with the line “There goes my baby.”
Nothing bad can be said about the musicians. Benmont Tench, Stan Lynch, Ron Blair, Petty, and Campbell were all playing to the best of their ability, but the material they had to work with was beneath them.
The backup vocals of Lynch and Tench enhanced Petty’s voice instead of just singing along.
All songs were written by Petty except “Here Comes My Girl” and “Refugee,” written by Petty and Campbell.