Voodoo Dating: A Very Merry Mojo To You
Years ago, I went on a date to see Tom Petty play in Southern Michigan. My date was an idiot (and I told him so), but the concert was Tom-tastic.
There are currently only three musicians whom I will not hesitate to purchase-without-hearing an album by, and among these is Tommy Boy. I have adored this man from the moment I accidently ran into him via Beta tape performance. My parents had recorded Laurel & Hardy’s Babes in Toyland, after that was John Candy & Catherine O’Hara performing The Nutcracker on SCTV, and overlapped with that was Tom Petty playing ‘Letting You Go’. True to Beta’s style, the three mediums melded beautifully…or something.
When I turned twelve, my Uncle showed up for my birthday, immediately dragged me into my room, ponied up a present of Pack Up the Plantation: LIVE! by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and we listened to ‘Breakdown’ about three million times. When my Aunt Sara was pregnant with triplets she told me that her husband, Keith, joked about listening to Beethoven in order to make the kids all smart and such. After her statement, my Aunt produced Damn the Torpedoes, popped Tom Petty in her cassette player and said, ‘I want my kids to be cool.’ My Father was hooked when he heard ‘American Girl’ for the first time in Silence of the Lambs. Once, I was in a car accident and I swore the man who put me into a stretcher looked, sounded, and was Tom Petty. Truly, my adoration runs deep for the man.
I doubled up on adoration when I heard an NPR interview indicating Blues was the reigning style for the newest album, Mojo. Tom Petty + the Blues = Two, two, two great things in one! And let ME tell YOU, this little girl was nary a note disappointed. While I appreciated the Wildflowers and Highway Companion albums, I always kinda felt they were about twelve or thirteen degrees off from something. When I had my first listen to Mojo, it proved true to it’s name in a ‘musically progressive’ and ‘moving right along’ way. I always felt that Tom Petty exhibited a good mosey for both his music and his life. When he’s teamed up with the Heartbreakers, I think they should have a musical comic book modeled after them because the tales they bang out and the super-sonic powers of reading each others’ minds are remarkable. Mojo isn’t the blessed offspring of Wildflowers and Highway Companion; it is a crafted result of Tom & the Heartbreaker’s own style as they hear the Blues. In short, it’s no finale (I don’t believe Art & Music are ever truly ‘done’ as life is change and addition), but a really good stepping stone to the next genre of music the group will choose to take on.
Throughout my admiration for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, I’ve noticed they have a pretty unwavering rhythm to their albums (and even Tom’s solo albums). The start is strong and usually showcases the more commercial songs (which is not a negative). My favourite tracks are normally numbers three to six and eleven to twelve or thirteen, which are deliciously ‘B Sides’ types. The middle of the Mojo is uniquely strong with a Heartbreakers’ Southern style raining into the Blues. If you’re a Tom Petty fan (like me!), you know the end recordings of most albums are philosophically similar to silent lines of pinks and greens after said rainfall. For me, the end of most Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ albums reflect either driving through Western Montana or watching an entire evening sky mosey beyond it’s Summer storm before launching it’s colours inside out.
Now that I’ve finished waxing, here are a couple recommendations for those interested:
Running Man’s Bible: My current favourite and a shining example of the Heartbreakers gettin’ it on with their own Bluesy style.
The Trip to Pirate’s Cove: For those traditionalists who favour Tom’s Damn the Torpedoes older style with a twinkling of the Blues.
Candy: Happily festooning itself with that upbeat pickin’ & strummin’ style of Blues. If you don’t like it, you’re listening to it wrong.