LeRoi’s Cool Reviews
KC Pitch — December 1982
★★★★ | Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | Long After Dark | Backstreet 5360 | $8.98 list | Produced by Jimmy Iovine and Tom Petty
This is not as raw as previous Petty efforts. It takes a more ethereal approach that will prove to be a big plus in the long run. That heavy rocking Byrds sound was getting a little old, and this may be the shot in the arm Petty needed.
Review by Vicki Atkins
KC Pitch — December 1982
★★★ | Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers | Long After Dark | Backstreet 5360 | $8.98 list
How can one man tap the same fountain and keep coming up with so many good songs about turgid love? Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ Long After Dark is another compilation of love songs with all the trimmings — pain, pining and some optimistic hopes thrown in for good measure.
The album is typically Tom except for the final cut, “A Wasted Life,” which includes some laid back island sounds and Petty chirruping “uh uh owww” while convincing a friend not to give up on life.
The drums and guitars administer repeated heavy blows from beginning to end on “One Story Town,” a fiery way to start out an album. Petty provides a local surprise by dropping an octave on the word “town.”
Even if you’re sick of synthesizers, the machine that’s programmed to bounce lightly along in “You Got Lucky” is easy to live with. It’s the first single to be released from the album and is, like “Don’t Do Me Like That,” another warning song: “You better watch what you say / You better watch what you do to me / Good love is hard to find / You got lucky babe when I found you.”
The inevitable comparison with Roger McGuinn pops up again as Petty pleads, “Deliver Me.” It includes some fine guitar work, but there are also traces of subtle keyboard work.
The consequences of loving a romantic gad-fly are the subject of “Change of Heart,” sure to become an anthem for those involved in feactured relationships. “You never needed me / You only wanted me around / It gets me down.” Hesitant guitar chords, nice harmonies and interlaced repetitive chorus lines make this one a pleaser. Then, skepticism is laid aside during “We Stand A Chance.” When Petty charges up to the bridge, “I’m so moved / I’m so changed,” you believe him.
Guitarist Mike Campbell co-wrote nearly half the songs, “Between Two Worlds” is the Petty/Campbell version of a stripped-down Harlequin romance:
“I got a dirty, dirty feelin’ that I just can’t shake
Yeah my brain keeps burnin’ and my body just aches
I know a woman’s body is only flesh and bone
How come I can’t let go?”
Howie Epstein does justice to the bass guitar, but Ron Blair steps back in on bass for this cut and is given special credit.
No new musical strategies emerge on Long After Dark, but who else conjures up better episodes about you know what?