Into the Great Wide Open (1991)

1. Learning to Fly 2. Kings Highway 3. Into the Great Wide Open 4. Two Gunslingers 5. The Dark of the Sun 6. All or Nothin' 7. All the Wrong Reasons 8. Too Good To Be True 9. Out in the Cold 10.You and I Will Meet Again 11.Makin' Some Noise 12.Built to Last


Petty's last album, Full Moon Fever was an unexpected smash hit that hadn't seen him reach the charts in a fashion since 1979's Damn the Torpedoes. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, to see that he tried to do the exact same thing with this record as he did with that one - that being he basically attempted to record a "part 2" that sounded similar in style as the previous one.

It's perhaps a slight disappointment that the same thing that happened back in 1979-81 happened here, and that is that he followed up a masterpiece with a very good record, but it didn't quite have the strength as the album that he was trying to copy. He's back on this record with The Heartbreakers, but I can't tell one lick of difference whether he plays with them or not, so that distinction is a bit pointless, at least in the case of this album and Full Moon Fever. Jeff Lynne is producer and co-writer, and that's incredibly obvious. Most of the songs "work" - obviously some better than others. The first three tracks are the best, and the last two warrant mention. Everything else in the middle is a bit of a mixed bag. it just sounds a little too similar as you're listening to the middle of the album.

Most everything that Petty would release would be warmly received, so it's a bit of a stretch to say "don't buy this one, but just get a greatest hits that has the real good songs". But, then again, if you have Full Moon Fever, then this is almost a redundant purchase, and if you don't have that record, it's probably a better investment. By itself, it's solid and doesn't disappoint. Not surprisingly, he would change directions on the next album to get himself out of the small rut he was in.

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