Review: Tom Petty’s rock ‘n’ roll triumph

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Hypnotic Eye” (Reprise)

Tom Petty isn’t singing about himself on his new tune, “Forgotten Man,” but he can’t be blamed for thinking like that.

The music world has moved on from the days when Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers were among its leaders. So what to do? They can give up, go country, become a walking jukebox or stand and fight.

They’ve decided to take a stand, based on the evidence of this stunning new disc. “Hypnotic Eye” is testament to the enduring power of blues-based rock ‘n’ roll. The Heartbreakers are among the best rock bands still working, and this disc is the type of showcase it hasn’t had for decades.

Mike Campbell’s fluid guitar, Benmont Tench’s unparalleled keyboards, Ron Blair’s surprisingly melodic bass and Steve Ferrone’s drums — it’s a veteran band that plays with confidence and precision. Petty brings the songs, hook-laden and filler-free, speaking to the strivers and dreamers who have always made up his audience. The sound is classic but never dated.

Were this the summer of 1984, “Faultlines,” “Red River,” “Forgotten Man” and “Sins of My Youth” would be constants on the radio. It’s no fault of his that time and trends are different now.

You’d be wise, however, not to forget Tom Petty.

David Bauder, Associated Press

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