Wildflowers (1994)


 
1. Wildflowers 2. You Don't Know How It Feels 3. Time to Move On 4. You Wreck Me 5. It's Good to Be King 6. Only a Broken Heart 7. Honey Bee 8. Don't Fade On Me 9. Hard On Me 10.Cabin Down Below 11.To Find a Friend 12.A Higher Place 13.House in the Woods 14.Crawling Back to You 15.Wake Up Time

 

If anyone needed any proof that Tom Petty should be mentioned along the great rock and roll artists of all time, they need not look further than this album. He's put out a lot of incredible material, yet this record is arguably his best. The first instinct is to describe this record as "stripped down", but that might lead one to believe that it's one of those unplugged/acoustic jobs. This is not the case. It's just a more simple record in terms of its production. Gone are the pulsating electric keyboards and reverb from the early Jimmy Iovine records that seemed perfect for the bowling alley and the skating rink. Nowhere is the Jeff Lynne "wall of sound" Wilbury influence that dominated his last two records present either.

Strange because both of the above "eras" were great in their own respective ways, but this record is just much more fresh. Had the songs not been incredible, none of this change would have mattered. But Petty churns out his best well crafted set of songs ever, even though the album doesn't rock quite as hard as some of his early material. Apart from the great tracks You Wreck Me and Honey Bee, the album is a much more quiet, introspective piece, but it never puts you to sleep - it's just not quite so overpowering.

To be brutally honest, the last 1/3 of the album sounds as though he's on auto-pilot, and whereas the songs are quite good, they don't quite knock you over as being quite as awesome as the first ten songs. This would lead some to argue that this album should have been shorter in length. I dunno. I would just pretend the last five songs are "bonus" tracks, since I'm sure everyone has their favorites.

His best of the best.

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