One of the most iconic bands is at it again. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers melted the hearts of millions after their formation in 1976, and has continued to be a largely followed group since. Their newest album, Hypnotic Eye, has the classic Tom Petty sound but with a twist.
The young man who started the “all-American” rock band out of Gainesville, Florida has continuously recorded music for 38 years, and this album is equally as impressive as his greatest. After taking three years to record, this album has already produced five singles and has a sound all its own.
One of the singles, “Red River,” has a gypsy theme and sounds similar to his past hit, “Refugee.” The song is about a unique female figure and divulges her superstitions, painting her as a dark, magical woman. The second verse reads: “She’s got a rosary and a rabbit’s foot / A black cat bone that keeps her good / A tiger tooth and a gris-gris stick / Still it don’t do the trick.” It leaves audiences captivated and interested with its interpretive storyline. But while containing a trancing quality, this song not only illuminates Petty’s outstanding songwriting capabilities, but shows his talent to create an uncommon sound for each song he writes. There’s no doubt that the tonality of his voice will never change – and we know how unique it is – but he always surprises with his musical creativity.
However, “Fault Lines,” is the most out-of-character song on the album. The guitar licks and the beat are untraditional Tom Petty, but it works and sounds unbelievable. With a grimy feel that portrays a story of a vagabond who’s recognizing the mistakes of their past, Petty successfully puts this song at the top of the list for most exclusive. The music is undeniably different; with a hint of harmonica, strong bass lines, impressive guitar chords and what seems to be an international flavor. Here, Petty has struck gold.
For the most part, Hypnotic Eye is upbeat, a trademark of Petty and the ever-so famous Heartbreakers. But as the first tune starts fast and strong, the close of the album ends on a softer note with “Shadow People.” An interesting scope of society, this melody describes the variety of people in the world, “That one’s thinking of great art and eloquent words / That one strapped on a gun and joined up with the herd.”
Starting off with a piano (different from Petty’s usual style), the song transfers into this deep noted song with an undertone of mystery. The concept is remarkably eerie when put into words and transgresses into very disturbing imagery.
Hypnotic Eye altogether still proves Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as a truly great American band that knows their music. Talented beyond belief, this album goes to show that you’re never too old for rock and roll.
This band has seen success in its years and this album will only add to it. The camaraderie between Petty, Mike Campbell (lead guitar), Ron Blair (bass), Stan Lynch (drums), and Benmont Tench (keyboards) lends them to superb recordings and unremarkable success.
And if there’s one artist who knows the rock and roll fame streak, it’s Petty. This Grammy-award winning and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist has recorded ten studio albums with the Heartbreakers, one with the side band Mudcrutch, and three solo albums. Hypnotic Eye will only add to the band’s successions.
The band just finished their rounds for their 2014 tour for Hypnotic Eye, ending their tour in Clarkston, MI. As of now, there is no word about a next album, but we can all hope there will be one in the near future. These masters of rock have blown us away yet again with Hypnotic Eye, let’s allow them to bask in the glory for awhile, shall we?
Reviewer: Lauren Vinyard
IRC: Lucy Patton
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