To me, Tom Petty is synonymous with “Free Fallin’” — which is also synonymous with John Mayer. But though I love Mayer as much as the next female millennial, I digress. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers have been around since 1976, so their sound is familiar to fans by now. To non-fans, they’ve got a sort of melodic ’80s rock vibe, alternating between slow, bass-supported marches and more classic riff-filled songs. Rather than break down the musicality of Hypnotic Eye, the latest album from the group, let’s classify a few of the (sometimes bland, sometimes smart) lyrics:
Foremost, Petty captures the human condition. It’s like reading Humans of New York:
“I’ve got a few of my own fault lines // Running under my life” (from “Fault Lines”).
“I feel like I’m forgotten man // Well, I feel like I’m four-letter word” (from “Forgotten Man”).
He details dichotomy, dipping slightly into religion and politics and hypocrisy:
“She’s got a 3-D Jesus in a picture frame // Got a child that she never named” (from “Red River”).
“The mayor is cooking the books” (from “Burnt Out Town”).
Petty poetically describe relationships — appropriate for a band with Heartbreaker as its moniker:
“You and I have burned every bridge // And now we got to save our souls again” (from “All You Can Carry”).
“Let me tell you the truth // I love you more // Than the sins of my youth” (from “Sins Of My Youth”).
There’s even a little bit of bro music:
“I’m half-lit, I can’t dance for shit // But I see what I want, I go after it” (from “American Dream Plan B”).
On a side note, Petty recently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live. The interview with Kimmel might be one of the more awkward musician interviews I’ve seen, which makes sense as Kimmel’s audience was intruding on the Heartbreakers’ practice space. By the end of the interview, Petty — wearing sunglasses indoors and straightened hair, as befits a rock star — gets a little antsy. He tells Jimmy, “I just play, man.” Like he’s been doing, with the Heartbreakers, since 1976. Play on, Tom.