Mojo (2010)


 
1. Jefferson Jericho Blues 2. First Flash of Freedom 3. Running Man's Bible 4. The Trip to Pirate's Cove 5. Candy 6. No Reason to Cry 7. I Should Have Known It 8. U.S. 41 9. Takin' My Time 10.Let Yourself Go 11.Don't Pull Me Over 12.Lover's Touch 13.High in the Morning 14.Something Good Coming 15.Good Enough

 

When I first heard about this record, I was a bit skeptical and had my heart set on disappointment. Supposedly, this was going to be a "Blues" album, with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers playing homage to the old Blues greats. I'm simply not a huge fan of the blues. I can take it or leave it, don't hate it, but can't really distinguish many of the blues artists from one another - so I wasn't expecting I would enjoy this one that much.

What I should have learned by this point, is that Tom Petty doing anything is great, as long as he sounds like Tom Petty. I have to argue that if I never would have heard the "Blues" comparison, I would have never made the connection myself. This album sounds more like Petty trying to replicate the great music of the late 1960's in the likes of Hendrix, The Yardbirds and (of course) The Byrds. Yes, I know that some of those artists, and a lot of the music in the late 1960's was a form of the Blues, it's just not the same as the early Chicago Blues sound that first comes to mind.

I was still scared when I listened to the very first song, Jefferson Jericho Blues. Normally Petty puts the strongest song on the album as the very first track. He seems to do just the opposite here, as this one is one of the worst songs on the album. The same seven note sequence throughout the song is a snoozer, and the idiotic lyrics (about Thomas Jefferson shagging one of his slaves) is only worse. Fortunately, things pick up quickly and strongly. A lot of the music here isn't necessarily distinguishable, but for the most part, it's not really a bad thing since all of the music has that pleasant, trippy late sixties feel. In other words, this is a good album to just listen and relax to, without worrying about what songs really sound like what.

With what now seems obligatory on most Petty albums, there are fifteen songs, and most fans could probably do without three or four (I'm not particularly crazy about Takin' My Time or the odd, out of place Reason To Cry, but that's just me). Curiously, he reserves the strongest songs for the middle of the album. The strongest highlights are the somewhat humorous Candy along with first single, the power driven I Should Have Known It. My two favorites are the Bluesy U.S. 41 and the sort of flowery Let Yourself Go.

I guess I should point out that this is a "Heartbreakers" record, the first since 2002's The Last D.J., but I never could tell a difference. Plus, it looks like there are a lot of new guys in the band this time around. Fortunately, Mike Campbell, as always, is right there by Petty's side, and his guitar work on this album is impeccable. Thumbs up on this one.

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