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Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - The Last DJ (2002)

Discussion in 'Album Reviews' started by Vintage, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. Vintage

    Vintage Vintage Rocker

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    The Last DJ
    Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

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    Tom Petty's clashes with the record industry are legendary. He squared off with MCA in the 80s, knee deep over contractual disputes and careening record prices, and challenged their unruly business practices. "Into The Great Wide Open" furthered Petty's suspicions of the music business cycle, but by then it was all for naught. Warner Brothers has been home to Petty for over 10 years where he has become one of the label's most consistent selling artists. In the meantime, the recording industry itself is watching its profits shrink in the face of a disenfranchised and industrious public. A bombshell in their laps, Petty and the Heartbreakers stepped up to the plate to address the situation. On The Last DJ, tongues firmly planted in their cheeks, they probe into a changing landscape infiltrated by bottom lines, corporate ego, media influence and mediocrity -- the very reasons CD burners and downloading communities flourish without guilt or remorse.

    Abandoning any attempt to present a straightforward narrative, The Last DJ is a well thought-out collection of 12 songs loosely hinged to the concept of throwaway product and ostentatiousness penetrating the record industry. The title track fondly recalls a past when DJs like Tom Donahue and Jim Ladd dominated the airwaves with their blithe, non-commercial practice of free-form radio. Comparing today's structured radio formats anesthetized for mass consumption, Petty ponders, "How much you'll pay for/What you used to get for free."

    The CD ventures forth into a majestic frolic, laced with magical hooks and regal embellishments. Jon Brion, well known for his work with Fiona Apple and Aimee Mann, tastefully decorates "Money Becomes King" (a tale of commerce over integrity), "Dreamville" (touching on a rarefied and glorious state of mind) and "Like A Diamond" with some truly magnificent orchestral arrangements. George Martin and the Beatles bear an incalculable weight over the proceedings, underscoring Petty's spirit for those days gone by.

    Delectably co-produced with George Drakoulias, who previously worked with Petty on the brilliant Wildflowers album, The Last DJ barrels through unobtrusively, taking on each formidable adversary with laconic style. There's "Joe," a no-nonsense footstomper delivered in first-person that calls out the true villain of the record. "When A Kid Goes Bad" and "Lost Children" (featuring some suave and toasty wah-wah work from guitarist Mike Campbell) both question the portrayal of children in these modern, media-infested times. "Blue Sunday" is a simple observation about that special someone you meet, get to know for a minute or a second, and then they're gone but have left a lasting impression.

    "The Man Who Loves Women" is a silly toss-off disguised as a sort of tribute to Petty's Traveling Wilbury band mate George Harrison while "Have Love Will Travel" is cast in that classic Heartbreakers' mode. Petty, Campbell, keyboardist Benmont Tench, drummer Steve Ferrone, utility man Scott Thurston and original Heartbreaker bassist Ron Blair join together for "Can't Stop The Sun," the grand finale with an optimistic twist. Here, Petty stands up to the corporate mongrels, proclaiming: "You may think it's all over/But there'll be more just like me..." The word is out -- the big wigs may be winning the war, but they're losing the battle. The Last DJ takes sumptuous assurance that eventually victory will be ours.
     
  2. rollingstoned

    rollingstoned Queens of the Stone Age

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    Re: The Last DJ - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

    Great review!
     
  3. eberg15101

    eberg15101 Senior Member

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    Re: The Last DJ - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

    Nice review:grinthumb

    This is my least favorite Petty album, I like maybe 3 or 4 songs from it and that is all.... this is the only petty album I even touch the skip button(or move the arm forward a bit:D)
     
  4. rollingstoned

    rollingstoned Queens of the Stone Age

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    Re: The Last DJ - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

    Least favorite Petty album? Ouch!
     
  5. Mr. Bob Dobolina

    Mr. Bob Dobolina Senior Member

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    Re: The Last DJ - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

    Just wanted to mention that Jim Ladd was fired by KLOS 95.5 here in L.A. A new company based in Georgia took over the station. Jim was the last "free-form" jock left on "free" radio. I grew up in L.A. and have listened to Ladd for years. I'll never forget the night John Lennon was killed. Ladd was working at KMET at the time. The Mighty Met was the #1 album rock station in town at the time. Ladd turned his show into a town hall where we could all vent, cry, scream and remember. The days when local radio was a vital part of the community is now officially dead. Adios to the Lonesome L.A. Cowboy. Until we meet again friend.
     
  6. gcczep

    gcczep Ever Onward...

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    Re: The Last DJ - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

    Yes... It's all about assembly line programming nowadaze. Because of Ladd, the All-Girl Harmonica Band will be burned within my twisted psyche forever. I never forget him emceeing the screen premiere of the Led-Zeppelin DVD when it was released. Funny, witty and personable. I also wish him the best!
     
  7. AboutAGirl

    AboutAGirl oh, be nice

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    I love this record. First Petty album I bought right when it was released. I can't rank it up there with Mudcrutch but it's my second favorite Petty album of the 21st century, beating out the also quite decent Highway Companion and the highly formidable Mojo.

    The title track is an emotionally charged rocker, Money Becomes King is one of Petty's most beautiful tunes, and Lost Children is one of the most banging Heartbreaker jams, a clear precursor to Mojo.
     
  8. Metal Head Mike

    Metal Head Mike Senior Member

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    Great review. I like this album. It's good to see Tom Petty can still make decent albums after all these years
     
  9. Sweaty

    Sweaty ThE OtHeR rAmOnE

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    Great album, I have most of his and he does still make great music, still waiting for him to come over here so I can see him:)
     

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