Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Echo

In 1999, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers got together to create some magic. Returning to their original form, Tom and the band worked hard to produce the best effort that they could. So, is Echo worth paying your hard earned money to own in your permanent collection? Let’s spin the disc and find out.

I’m going to make this one a little easier than most; Echo is without a doubt, the best Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers CD in existence. Something magical happened at the end of the millennium, and Tom & the boys recorded a masterpiece.

The disc opens with Room At The Top, which is a brilliant song, filled with passion that oozes through every note. The song starts with a slow, melodic build before crashing into a louder, more profound musical piece, where you can feel what the band is singing about. Room At The Top is an excellent opener that sets the tone for what’s to come.

Highlights on the disc of many include Free Girl Now, Swingin’, Echo, and Rhino Skin.

Free Girl Now was the first single released, and is a hard rocking, stomp your feet and sing-along, fun fest of a song. Tom sings of being free from the past, through the story of a girl who used to put up with a lot of bad in her working life, but broke away to become a free girl now, one who’s out to do what she wants and get back her life without feeling ashamed or humiliated. Good song, great message.

Swingin’ has a superb funky groove that catches your attention and holds it. Tom’s voice is smooth for this one and the guitar work is exemplary. The harmonica is a nice touch and the song soaks into your system, not leaving for a while after it’s been played.

Echo is my favorite song on the disc and may be one of my favorite Tom Petty songs ever. It’s a slower song with a beautiful piano drive, played by Benmont Tench, which keeps the pace mellow. The slow, meaningful power that Tom puts into his voice shines through on this song, and the lyrics are well developed and poignant.

Rhino Skin is a fantastic song about being mentally tough in order to make it through this life. The message in the music is that things are not always easy, and there are plenty of hard times and harsh comments to be had by us all. A thick skin is required to get through those hard times but never give up hope. It is a dark song that speaks of mystery and the hiding of our true selves in order to have a good opinion formed of us by our peers. Tom delivers the message brilliantly on this track, get thicker (Rhino) skin and accept that some people will never like anything you do for no reason other than to make them feel better.

With fast beating, road cruising, heavy rockers, and slow ballads placed perfectly on the disc, Echo is one of the best works Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers have ever done. This record was a fabulous way for them to close out 1999. If there is one Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers album that should be in your collection, this is it.

Ryo’s Rating: 9.5 (out of 10)

Track List
Room At The Top
Counting On You
Free Girl Now
Lonesome Sundown
Accused Of Love
Won’t Last Long
Billy The Kid
I Don’t Wanna Fight
This One’s For Me
No More
About To Give Out
Rhino Skin
One More Day, One More Night

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know, for me, the song 'Echo' has become somewhat of an anthem for the divorce I am going through personally. The song does such a great job of really capturing what a divorce really is, anger, disappointment, dismay. Divorce really is just a staggering thing to go through, you never truly will understand what went wrong and Petty nails that feeling cold with this epic song.