Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – Refugee / Watch Video

 

 

Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s 15th studio release is a “return to form,” according to reviews.

Already selling more than 80 million total albums in a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career, Tom Petty (along with his perennial band the Heartbreakers) is one of the best-selling artists of all time. But that’s no reason to hang up his hat, as the classic rock aficionado has just released his 15th studio album — and 13th with the Heartbreakers — Hypnotic Eye (Reprise).

Whatever the title may suggest, Hypnotic doesn’t focus on the Billboard‘s cover star‘s beliefs about transcendental meditation. Instead, Billboard.coms Kenneth Partridge is calling it a “return to form,” saying in his 85/100, track-by track review that: “In a sense, it’s where he’s always been.”

“Singing over punchy backings sure to get folks reminiscing about Damn the Torpedoes and Hard Promises, two of his early classics, Petty takes stock of his life, thumbs his nose at cops and parents, and decides he’s happy chasing his foolish rock ‘n’ roll dreams. He’s done some things he’s maybe not proud of (see: “Sins of My Youth”), but come out with his soul intact. At the very least, he’s not one of those unfeeling, self-oriented, materialistic ‘Shadow People’ he sniffs at in the final track,” says Partridge.

In his four-star review, Rolling Stones Jon Dolan agrees. “On Hypnotic Eye, the 63-year-old and his eternal Heartbreakers return to the scrappy heat of those early days with their toughest, most straight-up rocking record in many years, deepened by veteran perspective,” he says.

“The new album is a return to lucidity after the sometimes generic blues-rock and haphazard lyrics of Mojo,” says The New York TimesJon Pareles. “Nearly every song on Hypnotic Eye puts its main riff right up front, followed by Mr. Petty clearly staking out characters and situations. ‘American Dream Plan B’ opens the album with just a drumbeat and distorted, choppy guitar chords, with Mr. Petty soon arriving to yowl: ‘I’m gonna make my way through this world someday/I don’t care what nobody say.'”

Says The New York Daily News Jim Farber: “The album recalls the formal song structures, chiseled tunes and hard-rocking momentum of yore. It’s his catchiest, most sharply focused album in years.”

Hypnotic Eye is being talked about as a return to the sound of gumshoe Petty as heard on 1976’s Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and 1978’s You’re Gonna Get It! This is partly true,” says Consequences of Sound‘s Julian Ring in his more mixed review. “What keeps any song on Hypnotic Eye from matching “American Girl” or “The Wild One, Forever” is quality of songwriting, which shouldn’t necessarily come as a shocker. Classicism has no hand in it. Petty’s reached a point where he doesn’t need to worry about hits, no doubt a liberating position in which to create. But expectations are also lower, and in spots, it’s noticeable. Petty and his band have delivered a solid, but not wholly exceptional, batch of songs propelled by sharp lyrical themes and a clear vision. Ranked alongside the Heartbreakers’ back catalog, their 13th falls somewhere in the middle.”

STORY Tom Petty’s Billboard Cover: 5 Discoveries About the Rock Icon

“It won’t convert the unconvinced, but Petty sounds as inspired as ever,” says NMEs Mischa Pearlman, also giving Petty a mixed review.

“Though he has lived in California for decades, he remains a child of the South, and when his drawl breaks into a raspy growl, you can feel the pulse of a song rise, the anger bubbling to the surface,” says The Chicago Tribune‘s Greg Kot. “Petty stays contained, but there’s a sense that things could pop any second. It’s there in the diminished expectations outlined in ‘American Dream Plan B’ and the has-been’s lament ‘Forgotten Man.'”

And while “fans of Petty have a few stinkers to deal with in a 13-album stretch,” adds Kot, “the sun rises in the East, death and taxes will get you every time, and Tom Petty won’t let you down. It’s also really easy to take what he does, what he makes seem so effortless, for granted.”

 

Tom Petty Scores First Number One Album in 38-Year Career

Tom Petty

Tom Petty

 

t’s hard to believe that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers haven’t had a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 until now. His latest album, “Hypnotic Eye,” has finally topped the charts, selling 131,000 copies last week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Billboard notes this is Petty’s best debut since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991 and it’s the most he’s sold in one week since 1994’s “Wildflowers.”

Possibly aiding the sales of “Hypnotic Eye” is a buy-in plan that Petty packaged with ticket sales to his upcoming arena tour. At the point of purchase, fans had the chance to pre-order the album for an additional cost. illboard said that “albums redeemed” counted towards the sales number.
“Hypnotic Eye” is the band’s 13th studio album and is an 11 song collection that’s a throwback (http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/07/29/stream-tom-petty-and-the-heartbreakers-new-album-hypnotic-eye/) to the sound of their first two albums, 1976’s “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers” and 1978’s “You’re Gonna Get It.” In June, they released the first single, “American Dream Plan B,” with four more tracks being made public in July.
In response to this milestone, Petty posted a simple acknowledgement on Twitter earlier today:

 

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Tom Petty On Cheap Speakers And George Harrison

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Tom Petty – Photo Billboard

August 4, 2014

On a recent night in San Diego, was doing what he’s been doing for close to 40 years: leading his band The Heartbreakers on stage, playing the old hits and inaugurating new ones. He’s just started touring behind Hypnotic Eye, the band’s latest album in a prolific career — and if you ask Petty how it feels to still be kicking after all this time, you’ll get an uncharacteristically bashful response.

“It’s actually kind of embarrassing now; it’s such a love fest,” the 63-year-old rocker says. “I don’t think any of us pictured doing it at this level, at this age. “How could you?”

Musically, Hypnotic Eye is a throwback to early Heartbreakers albums; it’s driving rock with a bluesy vibe. But lyrically, Petty says, it’s very much about what’s going on in America today. Petty recently spoke with NPR’s Melissa Block about his long friendship with a late Beatle and why it pays to hear one’s own music on a bad car stereo. Hear the radio version at the audio link and read their conversation below.

Tell us about writing the songs for Hypnotic Eye and thinking about what tied them together. What do you think that is? What makes this feel like a collection of songs to you?

Tom Petty: It’s observational. I think it has a lot to do with American culture, without getting too strict about it or trying to be preachy. I don’t really take a side; I just invented characters that had their points of view.

Let me ask about one of the characters that I think you might be talking about, the speaker in the song “Power Drunk.” Who’s this guy?

Well, the guy singing that song is in some situation where he’s feeling, maybe, a little frightened. The line, “Pin on a badge and a man begins to change,” that’s pretty self-explanatory, really. There’s a lot of power-drunk people around these days.

Do you think about that? You said you don’t want it to be preachy; is that a line you’re pretty careful about not crossing?

I just tried to kind of explore this gap between the poor and people that get so wealthy that making more money really wouldn’t change an hour of the rest of their lives. And yet they’re obsessed with making more money, regardless of how that affects other people.

Maybe it’s a moral question of, “Do you want something so bad that you don’t need, even though it will hurt others?” ‘Cause we’re looking at a very different time in America right now. We’ve rubbed out the middle class, which was really the whole point of the thing for a long time — meaning America.

It’s interesting, because I wonder if you see yourself as part of that group of people who are on top? Who are securely in that 1 percent?

Yeah, I am. But I don’t do anything that hurts anyone. I come from a very humble background, but I guess I did live the American dream of getting into something I loved and working really hard at it, and there were financial rewards. I don’t think that’s ever been the guiding light of our band, but it’s nice.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: American Dream Plan B [Official Audio]

 

 

It’s really astounding, when you think about it, how long this band has been together. The original members go back to 1976 — so, coming up on 40 years.

Actually Mike, Benmont and I go back further than that, to 1970.

Mike is your guitar player Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench on keyboards. When you listen to Heartbreakers songs, you can tell from the very first notes what song they are. I wonder what that’s like for you, knowing that there’s this direct tie from the very beginning of a song to what millions of people know and remember about that song.

Well, it’s a tremendous thrill. I mean, if I think about it very long, it frightens me.

Really? Why?

‘Cause it’s kind of like, “Did I do that?” Music is a real magic: It affects human beings, it can heal, it can do wonderful things. I’ve had two people contact me in my life about coming out of comas to their family playing a song to them of mine, that they had liked before they were injured. They credited the song having something to do with that. I find that fascinating. A lot of people have told me, “This music got me through a really hard time,” and I can relate to that.

When I think about Tom Petty songs, I think they’re songs you want to play with the windows open and the top down, driving really fast. I wonder if, when you’re recording a new album, if you ever do that: if you take a rough recording and take it out for a drive, see how it sounds on the highway, outside the studio?

Yeah, I have done that. I think it was the Wildflowers record, we had a rental car; we wanted a kind of average sound system, not too expensive. So as we did each mix we would transfer it over — I think it was probably cassettes in those days — and take it out and listen to it in the car. There was a terrible moment when one of the crew returned the car and got a different one.

With the cassette still in it?

Well, not with the cassette in it, but we wanted that system. There was a real panic, so we had to send him back to find that same car.

But what’s the idea there?

Well, I’m trying to hear what it really sounds like. Studios have really good playbacks, good speakers and tuned rooms that are made for accuracy, soundwise. We tend to work most of the time with really inexpensive speakers that are probably worse than most people have.

Really?

Yeah, because if I can get it to sound good there, when I bring it up to the big speakers it’s pretty amazing.

How do you hear The Heartbreakers growing or evolving the longer you play with them? What’s changed?

There’s a lot of things. In Hypnotic Eye, one of the things that I was most pleased with, and that I really wanted to make happen, was what we didn’t play — the amount of space in the arrangements. The more air in the arrangement, the bigger the track sounds to me. We didn’t try to create walls of sound on this one; it was more like sonic textures.

I like to create lots of different guitar sounds, and I’m fascinated with how sounds go together. When you get something that works in a particular way, it’s kind of like mixing two colors together and getting a new one. Am I getting a little too esoteric?

[Laughs.] In the best way.

I probably sound like a pretentious ass here, but that’s kind of the way I see it. I just look at it like, between the speakers, when you come in there’s a blank canvas, and when you go out there’s actually something on it. And as simple as that sounds, it’s a tremendous rush to this day to me, to just make something happen.

You spent quite a bit of time with the late , and sang with him in the Traveling Wilburys. What do you think was his biggest influence on you?

We became very good friends, really, for decades. I don’t like to bring it up that much, because are so special that people might see it as boasting or something. But he actually became my friend, past being a Beatle to me. It was like having an older brother that had a lot of experience in the music business, someone who I could go to with my troubles and questions.

Traveling Wilburys – End Of The Line

 

 

I think [spirituality], probably, was the greatest gift he gave me. He gave me a way of understanding a higher power without it being stupid, or having tons of rules and books to read. But the best thing I can say to people that are curious about that is George was probably everything that you thought he was, and then some more. Very funny man; he could just kill me with his humor. He was a great guy and I miss him terribly.

I know you’ve talked a lot about first seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 — I guess you’d have been 13 — and that was basically what made you think, “Music, band, that’s what I want to do.” So to go from that to being that close with him and that intimate with him must have been quite something.

Strangely enough, we got along very well right away. He was the kind of person that, when he came across a good thing or the potential for a friend, he really was aggressive about it. And he had a way of knocking out anything that was extracurricular, or in the way of what was really going on. He could get you comfortable with him very quickly. I was always asking Beatle questions, and probably annoyed him. But, you know, he liked The Beatles, too. He liked talking about it and remembering it.

Do you have one George Harrison memory that really stands out?

I have thousands, you know. Thousands and thousands. We’d be here all day talking about George.

How do you gear up and get ready to go out on tour?

That’s easy, because just absolute fear takes over. I am in a state of shock.

Is it still thrilling in any way, or does it feel so familiar that that thrill is gone?

No, I get a thrill. My adrenaline gets so high from a concert that after it, I usually just pace until sunrise. I can’t come down from it.

Seriously?

Yeah, you kind of spend the whole day gearing up for it, and the night getting over it. You just want to be as wonderful as everyone thinks you are, and you know you’re not. So something takes place where you reach down and pull from so deep inside your soul that this music happens, and you all reach the place you wanted to reach together, you and the audience. Getting over that takes all night.

So a lot of pacing?

I pace, yeah. People deal with it in different ways, but I tend to walk around a lot.

 

 

 

 

Listen: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ new song “American Dream Plan B”

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Tom Petty previously said that his upcoming 13th studio album with The Heartbreakers, entitled Hypnotic Eye, will be “a straight hard-rockin’ record, from beginning to end.” Judging by the album’s first track, “American Dream Plan B”, Petty and Co. are set to make good on that promise.

Heavy guitar stomps over a straightforward beat, weighty but resilient like the song’s namesake. On the verses, Petty applies a slight snarl to his nasal delivery, with subtle hints of that accent he used on “Breakdown”. The legend sings from the perspective of a younger person facing more modern American challenges, someone who knows “My success is anybody’s guess/but like a fool I’m betting on happiness.”

 

 

Hypnotic Eye is due out July 29th through Reprise Records. Consult the Hypnotic Eye album art above, and find the tracklist below.

Hypnotic Eye Tracklist:
01. American Dream Plan B
02. Fault Lines
03. Red River
04. Full Grown Boy
05. All You Can Carry
06. Power Drunk
07. Forgotten Man
08. Son of My Youth
09. U Get Me High
10. Burnt Out Town
11. Shadow People

Petty and the Heartbreakers will support the record with an extensive U.S. tour that includes stops at Outside Lands and Lockn’ Festival. Check out the updated itinerary below.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 2014 Tour Dates:
08/03 – San Diego, CA @ Viejas Arena
08/05 – Boise, ID @ Taco Bell Arena
08/07 – Eugene, OR @ Matthew Knight Center
08/09 – San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands Music Festival
08/12 – Portland, OR @ Moda Center
08/14 – Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena
08/15 – George, WA @ The Gorge
08/17 – Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Place
08/19 – Calgary, AB @ Scotiabank Saddledome
08/21 – Winnipeg, MB @ MTS Centre
08/23 – Chicago, IL @ United Center
08/24 – Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
08/26 – Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
08/28 – Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
08/30 – Boston, MA @ Fenway Park
09/06 – Arrington, VA @ Lockn’ Festival
09/07 – Darien Center, NY @ Darien Lake PAC
09/10 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
09/13 – Hartford, CT @ XL Center
09/15 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center
09/18 – Raleigh, NC @ PNC Arena
09/20 – West Palm Beach, FL @ Cruzan Ampitheater
09/21 – Tampa, FL @ Tampa Bay Times Forum
09/23 – Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
09/25 – Houston, TX @ Toyota Center
09/26 – Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center
09/28 – Tulsa, OK @ BOK Center
09/30 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Ampitheatre
10/01 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Ampitheatre
10/07 – Anaheim, CA @ Honda Center
10/10 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum