IT’S a scarcely believable 37 years since Tom Petty released Anything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll and began his scorching journey into the heart of that elusive American dream.
There have been plenty of highs on the way, with tracks like I Won’t Back Down, King Of The Hill and American Girl firmly establishing Petty as one of the finest songwriters of his generation. Hypnotic Eye, his 13th solo album, confirms that reputation, with Petty casting his searching gaze across contemporary America. American Dream Plan B, the doom-laden Burnt Out Town and the coruscating Shadow People suggest all is not well in the heartlands of the US of A.
Seldom have the Heartbreakers sounded so urgent and accomplished, contributing fully to Petty’s finest record since those 1980s glory days. Hypnotic Eye is too intelligent and wide-ranging to be seen purely as a political record, but this state of the nation address suggests that American dream is drifting inexorably into a nightmare.