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Responses To Hypnotic Eye

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Ron is a rock bass guitar player.  I hope I hear more of him on other cuts on the new record.

 

He's very subtle on Hypnotic Eye as well. You only hear his playing when you specifically listen to it. That's what makes a good bass player, in my opinion.

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That's what I wanted to comment on and forgot: Not only does nobody else seem to sing, I hardly hear Benmont's piano. Or organ.

Ah. Ok. So here it is. Not only wasn’t Hypnotic Eye quite the straight through rock album or quite the Heartbreakers’ 70s vibe album it was said to be. Maybe it’s not quite the all-throughout band effort I had reason to believe it was gonna be, either. The backing vocals issue seem to suggest a tiny back door left open in that account, a rift in the otherwise neatly knitted fabric.

For one thing, as warm and organic as this album feels on an overall level – and, yes.. I think I hear Ben play well enough! - I immediately, upon first hearing the album from start to finish, felt a few traces of cut and paste going on (Red River being the most striking example on the album - it's plain to hear how it really was two songs initially). That in itself is not much of a problem, studio magic nothing new. The easiness by which these things were detected however, raised my awareness of how the cozy vibe of the album might not all together hold up to severe scrutiny. That’s when the issue with the backing vocals dawned on me. Somehow the lack of Scott and Ben really gives me the idea that Eye isn’t quite the back-to-basic, all-together-now, band effort it is posing as.

I have a feeling that despite surely fun and warm sessions, recording most(?) of the actual music creatively and together, the fine but oh so important touches that would stitch the sessions up with mixing levels, adding overdubs, making it an overall warm and alive felt band album, ended up a tad short handed, given the amazing material they obviously had to work with. In my opinion this happened when they didn't include the band and their various qualities all the way in the process.

Listening closely, the result, it could be argued, despite great band performances on studio floor level, feels as much a Tom Petty solo effort in vibe as do most of his admittedly solo released stuff. With such apparently extensive TP overdubs done to it by TP (with Ryan and Mike, surely) and likewise apparently few other Heartbreaker touches to be find in the fine musical details and vibes addeds, TP and RU seemingly not only decided what was needed, which needless to say would be normal operating procedure (rock’n’roll is not democracy, no matter what bands tell you), but seemingly they actually went on to finish up and add what’s needed all between themselves. Much as I would imagine would’ve been the case with TP and Lynne for their albums and with TP and Rubin on Wildflowers. Then band as simply tools and intruments for TP to use, rather than people and voices, adding those extra dimensions to his songs.

I don’t know all this to be a fact, techincally - but from listening closely and reading credits, it really seems to be the case. Just call it a strong audiable hunch. Again, I had an initial feeling from details in the sound (maybe this is what TwoGunslingers hears a lot better than I do, when he says the album feels cold, black and white or whatever, I don't know.. and I don’t hear it that way, but still).

Anyhow, I love the album from most all angles - and I do think it's their finest work since 1991. I really just pieced my traces of suspicion together when realizing that more than meets the eye (the ear as it were) at first glance seems to be the result of s.c. post production and especially my alarm rang when realizing that Ben and Scott have not been used accordingly and that a lot of Ron's amazing work too, actually turns out to be Tom's amazing work - as TP is occasionally playing the bass at the same time as singing lead and adding a harmony or two and strumming his guitar. (Oh, the talent!)

Seriously, I know I know.. this is hardly news in terms of recording technique, obviously. I just feel a lot more could have been done towards bringing the band vibe of this album all the way over the goal line. When everything else is so well worked out and worked through, not using Ben and Scott for high harmonies to add warmth and dynamics, seems, when all is said and done.. cheap? As if, when they were almost done with all the highest level pro work, they resorted to a sort of do-it-yourself demo approach? Charming in a way, but really.. in the long run, wasn’t it worth the extra level of marvel and quality to just get on the phone with Scott and ask him to carry his butt over to Malibu and sing his brains out on a few sections, the way only he can? I find it hard to believe.

Oh well. Still the result is great and next to perfect. Here I am, talking attitude as much as we are talking life altering changes in end result, mind you. And again, to me all this is mostly a matter of what a TPATH album is said to be, the vibe it is given (by the band and the company) and what the album really turn out to be. At least since Mojo, I have come to expect discrepancies between talk and truth, but it starting to get silly. For the next release I will try to expect the opposite of what is said, and maybe I end up closer to fitting my experience with what I am suppose to hear. Doesn’t matter much as long as it is this awefully good anyway!

And besides - these studio tricks vs human beings issues point towards new and endless possibilities for these new songs to really glow and grow beyond the beautiful when performed live, when e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is not only done live then and there – which is commonly the bonus with live performances - but is moreover done not in layers by two men (ok, that is just me showing off, exaggerating, but the underlying point is valid, I think) but done by all the members of the band, with all the personal touches and dimensions of warmth that adds. Go Ron, go Scott, go Ben.

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Wow, Shelter, you make a lot of assumptions! 

 

It's no secret that Petty calls all the shots, but Mojo and Hypnotic Eye seem to be much more band collaborative. 

 

I do think that the new recording "sounds" like it took three years to make.  Many of the songs sound like stuff he wrote in 1976.  However, I think they should have recorded and mixed them in a few weeks like was done in 1976.

 

I dont have my CD yet, should be here today. 

 

Which tracks didn't have Blair playing bass?

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Wow, Shelter, you make a lot of assumptions! 

 

It's no secret that Petty calls all the shots, but Mojo and Hypnotic Eye seem to be much more band collaborative. 

 

I do think that the new recording "sounds" like it took three years to make.  Many of the songs sound like stuff he wrote in 1976.  However, I think they should have recorded and mixed them in a few weeks like was done in 1976.

 

I dont have my CD yet, should be here today. 

 

Which tracks didn't have Blair playing bass?

Well.. yeah.

It’s all from actually listening to the record, it’s from studying the album credits and it’s from reading interviews of how the album was made. The rest of it is assumptions, sure.

But don't get me wrong. Like I said, it’s mostly a vibe thing, and a words vs reality thing. I love the album musically.

Ron? Oh, he plays! How he plays!! Sometimes Tom does too. When some special flavor needed to be added. As is the case with the back up singing, moreover, where Scott and Ben were deemed superfluous. (He's not drumming, is he? Kudos to Steve..)

Just thoughts. Don't take it too seriously. It's only rock'n'roll.

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Well.. yeah.It’s all from actually listening to the record, it’s from studying the album credits and it’s from reading interviews of how the album was made. The rest of it is assumptions, sure.But don't get me wrong. Like I said, it’s mostly a vibe thing, and a words vs reality thing. I love the album musically.Ron? Oh, he plays! How he plays!! Sometimes Tom does too. When some special flavor needed to be added. As is the case with the back up singing, moreover, where Scott and Ben were deemed superfluous. (He's not drumming, is he? Kudos to Steve..)Just thoughts. Don't take it too seriously. It's only rock'n'roll.

I actually am appreciating your insight. Got the cd this afternoon and I "hear" a lot what you note.

I am dissapointed that some of what I thought was an un shackled Ron Blair was actually Petty's bass playing. I love the tone of what sounds like an Ampeg B-15 driven into nice distortion, but for some reason, I wish that Petty let the band breath a bit more.

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As usual, Shelter's got more than one point here. You're entering the shallow waters where the sharks are circling! ;) It might hurt a bit, but I guess you're right: Since not even so-called live albums are not as live as the artists and their record companies want to make us believe (overdubs on live recordings have been the rule for at least 30 years now), how could we expect studio albums to be live recordings? Sometimes they are, as might have been the case with the Mudcrutch album... at least that's what it says on the album sleeve... but more often than not, they are highly elaborated efforts in terms of production. Hell, two days ago I saw a giant ad for Hypnotic Eye in Nürnberg in a spot where usually only the "hip" new releases get advertised. Pop stuff. The band as well as Warner/Reprise or whoever seem to be really eager to make the album a top seller. Hence the long production period. Maybe. IMHO Tom rather should have worked a bit harder on or looked a bit longer for memorable melodies and choruses, but that's a different story (and a point of view I seem to share with NOBODY :lol: ).

And we know from the interview with Ulyate (how the heck do you pronounce that name by the way?) that they recorded digitally, so splicing together was definitely a working method. Ulyate even said so. That might have encouraged decisions like "Oh, Ron's idea was good, but I got a better one. Hand me the bass!" :lol:

The point is: either they should stop marketing albums like Hypnotic Eye as band effort - or we (or maybe just some of us) should rethink their idea of a band album.

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I still can't believe I was kind of lukewarm about the songs when I first heard them because I absolutely love this album now.  The more I listen, the more I love it.  I wake up in the morning with one song or another in my head and I'm playing all the little sounds in the music in my head as well as catching new lines in the lyrics that I had missed.  I really haven't studied the linear notes so I'm just catching all I know about the lyrics from listening to the songs.  It's fascinating to me realizing how many twists and turns the music takes within a single song.  The music in Fault Lines is spectacular!  WOW!  MC blows me away again!! 

 

I appreciate everyone taking the time to write their thoughts on the songs, good and bad.  You all are being honest and respectful with your opinions and I respect that.   Keep em coming! 

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Okay, after listening a couple of times, here's my song-by-song review (careful, this is subjective sh*t! ;) ):

 

American Dream Plan B
Rating: 3.5/5
Favorite line: 
"I'm half lit, I can't dance for shit"
 
Intro riff reminds me of AC/DC (as do the lyrics where the female character shoots from the hip), bridge reminds me of the Who. All in all an entertaining track to start the album (I would have preferred Fault Lines as opener though). First time I heard it, I had the feeling the vocals don't follow the beat as precisely as they should. The vocals are lagging behind - which is very typical for TP and has always worked - in my opinion this doesn't suit ADPB very well, since it has such an on-time beat. Lyrics aren't top of my list either. "I got a dream I'm gonna fight til I get it" copies the pathos of "I Won't Back Down" but doesn't do as much for me as the latter does.
 
Fault Lines
Rating: 5/5
Favorite lines: 
"Down below, the man I know might not be me"
"On the highwire, above the wildfire, an old acrobat on faulty cable, still he’s able not to fall flat"
 
Mike's stinging guitar riff, the perfectly placed wah-wah effect and Steve's work on the cymbals are the foundation of the urgency in this up-tempo song. Slightly fragile sounding vocals suit the masterful lyrics perfectly. The break in this song that leads to the bone dry guitar solo make Fault Lines a perfectly arranged work of art. Definitely my favorite track on the album.
 
Red River
Rating: 4.5/5
Favorite line: 
"I'm gonna walk her down to gypsy town, find a spirit queen I've seen around, paint her body up in mud and clay, let the river wash it all away"
 
First of all, I don't think Red River sounds like Mudcrutch. The only similarity to Mudcrutch to me is the voodoo type theme of the song which also appears on Lover Of The Bayou -a cover of a Byrds song- and Crystal River because this is also about a woman and a river. To me, Red River is pure Heartbreakers. And a fantastic track, too. Vocals are precise and sharp, I love the lyrics, especially the imagery of the river's clear and cold water washing away the mud and the clay. To me this symbolizes the cathartic effect of nature's purity that cleanses the woman of her excessive spirituality and superstition.
The way the bridge leads into the guitar solo always gives me goosebumps.
 
Full Grown Boy
Rating: 4.5/5
Favorite lines: 
"I like to move on sure and easy like a cat creeps through the grass"
"And there's laughter on the hillside, from voices far away"
"How am I gonna tell her that I love her when words don't mean a thing"
 
After 3 rockers, it's time to catch your breath! The rhythm of the song to me is a little Green-Onion-ish, and the imagery of the cat creeping through the grass confirms the feeling (since Green Onions was the name of the cat that could walk with a very inspiring rhythm). It's amazing how much room there is left in the song without it sounding incomplete. Again, the lyrics are fantastic if not the album's best and Mike's crystal clear guitar play just blows me away. The simple, jazzy arrangement makes Full Grown Boy a welcome break for the ears, gives them some time to regenerate and get ready for the following tracks.
 
All You Can Carry
Rating: 3.5/5
Favorite line:
"You and I have burned every bridge, now it's time to save our souls again"
 
Again, the urgency, especially in the vocals. Mike's guitar riffs are the glue that keeps the verses together. All in all, a great rocker, that could have been a bit shorter. It tends to get a bit lengthy after about 2/3, but the lead guitar makes up for that. I can only assume what impact that wildfire experience had on Tom. He seems to have re-lived the whole '87 arson scene. "I saw a ghost by the road tonight..." and "There's something moving in the dark outside..." make me feel like he's written down some of his nightmares. This is why, to me, the song is a bit creepy and has a bitter taste to it. The lyrics make me uneasy. That's why it's not one of my favorites.
 
Power Drunk
Rating: 4/5
Favorite line:
"You and I are left in the wind, in the wake of a rich man's sin"
 
This is the one song on the album that reminds me most of the 70s Heartbreakers. I think it was Mike who drew comparisons to "Fooled Again", and that's what I'm hearing too. The biting guitar, the delicate arrangement and the stinging lyrics have the raw power of the early Heartbreakers. The vocals are absolutely amazing. It's fantasic to hear Tom sing with such energy and precision at his age. I like the theme of the song, how authority can cast a shadow on one's soul and make him drunk with power. Unfortunately, it's happening every day, everywhere in the world.
 
Forgotten Man
Rating: 4/5
Favorite line:
"How angry words can pierce a heart, how a soul can sink so low"
 
A raw and fast rocker is just what we need at this point of the album, something to bang your head to. The two tracks before this one were heavy stuff, "Forgotten Man" is a good one to shake the weight off one's shoulders. Even if it sounds a bit like a remake of "A Mind With A Heart Of Its Own", it still has something original. And that is once again the band. The rhythm section really shines on this one, especially Steve who gets his own little Sandy-Nelson-moment. Tom's vocals are raw and rough, just like Mike's guitar.
 
Sins Of My Youth
Rating: 3/5
Favorite lines:
"You say you love me, wish you'd like me more. I'm no angel that's for sure. Said you forgave me each time I was caught, but you still paint me as something I'm not"
 
I like the lyrics better than the arrangement, even though I always have to grind my teeth when I hear "let me tell you the truth" seemingly only placed there to rhyme with "sins of my youth". I do have my problems with that bossa nova rhythm, it seems strange for Tom & The Heartbreakers and it seems strange on an album that is promoted as a full blown rock album. As in "Full Grown Boy", the band expertly leaves a lot of room in the song, Benmont's organ is simply wonderful. On slow tracks like this one it's most obvious how good the band plays together.
 
U Get Me High
Rating: 4/5
Favorite line:
"Every bad dream (that) comes my way turns to smoke on closer inspection"
 
A great, grooving foot-tapper, this one. A good rocking track, nothing more, nothing less. The bass really shines here. The liner's notes reveal it was Tom who played it, not Ron...go figure. If this is what's left over from Wildflowers, I'm really happy they'll give us a 20th anniversary edition by the end of the year!
 
Burnt Out Town
Rating: 4/5
Favorite lines:
"New Emperor, same clothes"
"And here I am, stealing gas with a garden hose"
 
The blues is back! I like that they put a little piece of Mojo here, the blues just seems to come so natural to them. The lyrics are fantastic, the imagery of this town with its scenery from hell, everything falling apart is the logical consequence of "Power Drunk" and makes me think of W. B. Yeats' "The Second Coming": "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world." The machine-gun-like guitar sequences fit perfectly and their echo fading out to finish the song is absolutely brilliant.
 
Playing Dumb
Rating: 4.5/5
Favorite line:
"For every man of God who lives with hidden devils"
"Man, you're in so deep, how can you know all that you know and get to sleep?"
 
Can you imagine a lyric like this one on, say, You're Gonna Get It or Long After Dark? I can't. Back then it was all love songs. After Echo, obviously some Fault Lines cracked open and some of them love-lyrics fell through. The variety of song themes has grown ever since, and here we are with TP criticising recent and ongoing scandals in the catholic church. Never saw that one coming. The lyrics are very literal, which isn't my favorite type of songwriting, but they hit the nail on the head. Musically this is a great blues-rock track with a superb bridge and a cool Zeppelinesque guitar line. The vocals sound very fresh, I think they sound the most 70s-Petty on the album. 
 
Shadow People
Rating: 5/5
Favorite lines:
"And he's scary as hell 'cause when he's afraid, he'll destroy anything he don't understand"
"Well, I ain't on the left and I ain't on the right. I ain't even sure I got a dog in this fight"
 
The wonderful piano intro leads to this fantastic repeating guitar riff that reminds me a lot of the early Heartbreakers. This slow rocker could also have been on Damn The Torpedoes or Hard Promises. Again, there's this creepy, gloomy atmosphere that music and lyrics create, it can easily give you the chills. Benmont's sophisticated work on the keys is fantastic, the sonic world he creates with his instruments is brilliant. The break fits perfectly, it's what makes the song; the vocals are pristine. I wouldn't have needed the acoustic epilogue for the song to be complete, though. This track is a worthy conclusion to the album, written by a masterful lyricist and played by what truly is America's best rock & roll band today.

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Must take the op to thank everyone for sharing oppinions, pictures and insight. Interesting to read and ponder while listening to the new album! Keep it coming!

As usual, Shelter's got more than one point here. You're entering the shallow waters where the sharks are circling! ;) It might hurt a bit, but I guess you're right: Since not even so-called live albums are not as live as the artists and their record companies want to make us believe (overdubs on live recordings have been the rule for at least 30 years now), how could we expect studio albums to be live recordings? Sometimes they are, as might have been the case with the Mudcrutch album... at least that's what it says on the album sleeve... but more often than not, they are highly elaborated efforts in terms of production. Hell, two days ago I saw a giant ad for Hypnotic Eye in Nürnberg in a spot where usually only the "hip" new releases get advertised. Pop stuff. The band as well as Warner/Reprise or whoever seem to be really eager to make the album a top seller. Hence the long production period. Maybe. IMHO Tom rather should have worked a bit harder on or looked a bit longer for memorable melodies and choruses, but that's a different story (and a point of view I seem to share with NOBODY :lol: ).

And we know from the interview with Ulyate (how the heck do you pronounce that name by the way?) that they recorded digitally, so splicing together was definitely a working method. Ulyate even said so. That might have encouraged decisions like "Oh, Ron's idea was good, but I got a better one. Hand me the bass!" :lol:

The point is: either they should stop marketing albums like Hypnotic Eye as band effort - or we (or maybe just some of us) should rethink their idea of a band album.

Yeah, I hear you. Though I want to underline that to me the problem is not overdubs, "post production" and various ways to pimp the original studio floor master recordings. As far as Im concerned that is part of the art. Personally, I always appreciate it more, the more live and complete in studio it gets, but that is another thing and another matter. That happening at all is rare and almost always bs talk these days. More or less. But that said, I like what can be done to a recording "afterwards", I love Hypnotic Eye as a "normal" album in that sense.

I think the problem is, for one thing, not putting these amazing musicians and band members to more use when finishing up the details, thus missing out on variuos levels of dynamics and warmth on the final product. And then again, there's the matter of labeling. And of saying one thing and acting up another, as it is required of them to follow some sort of map, no matter what the land lays like. Which makes it increasingly hard, even for core fans to tell if these guys are they band members or hired guns? Are there a difference? Is it fair to sell it not only as a band album, but an unusually high degree of "playing live" or "playing together" album, when all that is band about it is the basic tracks, sometimes not even used in their entiry? Are they really just ever a band per se when they play live shows? (If so, how sad, since they are the best at it and should benefit from letting all hands and voices contribute as a band even in the studio for the best possible result on this great material that Tom keeps handing out for them to shine on. Just as is the case with the talk of this being so 70s or so exclusively rock n roll, I just don't get the talk and the repetition of sales pitches, that's all. Don't they realize the fans read/hear all those same pitched interviews, see all those same pitched clips, and most of all, don't they realize we listen to the album, read liner notes and get the picture? Ok, so we buy the myth anyway, sure.. But the media logic of this hole thing, and all the half-ssed music/image ideals (that still are healthier and more pure than those of most artists, I know) is all a bit sickening to me.. It' a great album, lets keep it at that, shall we?

No, btw, keep those opinions coming, adding to the fun. :)

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Hi,

 

Hypnotic Eye is the best Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers albums I've heard in years. Certainly his most consistent with a very good flow. Unlike Mojo, or the Last Dj or Echo, where I would skip the majority of songs, Hypnotic Eye has a good mix of fast, bluesy and slow. That chorus in American Plan B is amazing! And the beginning of Fault Lines sounds like the theme from a 50s or 60s spy movie, it's so groooovy!

 

I love the enjoyable tension of All You Can Carry, the build-up in Forgotten Man and the crunch of U Get Me High.

 

cheers

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This album has a great mix of rock, pop and blues and a notable groove from the rhythm section that Tom made a point of speaking about during a recent interview. Songs are good and playing is as good as ever with perhaps less Benmont than on earlier records. Ron Blair shines on several bass tracks and Mike's guitar still adds that magic to the songs it graces. I am stoked that it reached #1 in the US and charted a lot higher than past TPATHB records in many countries around the world, perhaps other countries may get some touring action from this fine band? Forgotten Man, All You Can Carry and U Get me High are among my favourites, they all have that catchy rock/pop touch going back to late 80's early 90's and sort of propels this album to a wider audience moreso than past albums which were more focused towards the bands main core audience. Some very interesting tunes such as Sins of My Youth and Full Grown Boy show the band continuing to explore non typical TPATHB formulae. The closer Shadow People and Power Drunk harken back to the old days with their snarl and attitude and I should not forget the brilliant Fault Lines which some people I talk to consider their finest track in some years.

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In addition to the musical excellence, I was surprised at how much I like the album cover. When I saw the image online, it looked terrible, but it works on the cd cover. I also like having the songs listed on the front as well.

 

It's certainly better than the covers with Tom or Tom and the band on the cover. Into The Great Wide Open is another favorite cover of mine as well.

 

Back to what counts, the tunes. It's just such an enjoyable album, I love the combo of Full Grown Boy into All You can Carry. That side of the road line is great, there's an urgency in the lyrics that compliments the groove.

 

There's probably a lot of really good songs that weren't released from these sessions, especially when they began veering away from the Mojo influence.

 

Those opening three songs are great!

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well, after living with this for the last two weeks I still think its the best thing he has done in a long time in terms of being a TPATH record as opposed to a Petty solo record.

 

For a while (up until Mojo/Mudcrutch) the TPATH and Petty solo outings sounded pretty similar. 

 

Pretty much middle of the road sing/song softer rock, which sold like crazy!  You cant argue with that.  However, Petty deserves great credit for changing things up a bit, putting some energy back into the Heartbreakers.

 

This record has some real "bite" and some aggressive rocking like what made me an instant fan back in the 70's (All that You Can Carry is an example). 

 

After two weeks, there is some "content" that I think came from Mojo,that doesn't quite fit.  I suspect that TPATH picked up some bluesier fans with Mojo that they want to keep on board.  That shows great touch with your audience.

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For a while (up until Mojo/Mudcrutch) the TPATH and Petty solo outings sounded pretty similar. 

 

Pretty much middle of the road sing/song softer rock, which sold like crazy!  You cant argue with that.  

 

  I didn't care for a lot of the "middle of the road" offerings. In a lot of ways, much of Wildflowers, Echo, The Last Dj and Mojo are one homogenous blur. Over time, and in the right mood, I appreciated some of the songs I once dismissed from these albums, and I pretty much doubted TPATH would release something like Hypnotic Eye. Yes, it's not an all out rocking album, but I think it synthesizes the bluesy "middle of the road" with faster songs.

 

 While I certainly respect them for not just repeating themselves and for Tom's desire to do something different, they really seemed to love that midtempo. I'm glad they recorded some more uptempo music, more aggresive even when they're in the "middle of the road."

 

cheers

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It's interesting to read through this thread again now that I've heard the album many times. I enjoy everyone's insight and opinions. I'm of the belief that Fault Lines is one of their top 5 songs musically, and lyrically. (is that the word ?)

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I never posted a full review of the album, and now it's pretty late to give my "first impressions"... but you're gonna get some anyway! I believe Hypnotic Eye is in the upper echelon of Heartbreakers albums all time. Suffice to say I really really like it! I don't think there are any glaring weak spots at all. In a way, it's too bad this band's output is so damn consistently good in whatever line up they're constructed. Otherwise, you could make some grand statement like "this is the best album in 20 years" or something like that. Fact is, Mojo, Mudcrutch and Highway Companion are all excellent records. So really this is the best album since... the last one(s).  I honestly like every song on there. The only teetering exception is "Forgotten Man". I don't hate it, but it is the weakest song on the album IMO. Plus it sounds too much like the love child of "Got My Mind Made Up" and "A Mind With a Heart of Its Own".

 

And I think it IS an out and out hard rocking album. I've read some people say it isn't the hard rocker that the promotion promised, and I disagree. I didn't listen to any of the songs before the record came out and I think that positively influenced my perception. If that is the way you are first exposed to it, I think you really appreciate the entire piece as an album better. The downside to getting a track here and there early is you kind of "take them for granted" when the whole album, with the rest of the tracks, is released. When all 11 songs hit you at once, it is a really hard rockin' album. I can understand that if I was "used to" all the pre-releases and just heard just the six "new" songs on July 29, it wouldn't be the same. But take it all as one piece, and it is a barnburner. I really can't get over how great of an album it is!

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It's interesting to read through this thread again now that I've heard the album many times. I enjoy everyone's insight and opinions.

I've been thinking the same thing lately!

Otherwise, you could make some grand statement like "this is the best album in 20 years" or something like that.

:D Some of us could, and some of us did. And some of us still think it's the truth. Not that I don't agree that most their albums are fantastic. This time it was - all things considered and trying, objectively, to take sound, vibe, and the state of tech, of respective album era into account - extra fantastic. Material, arrangements, production and attitude can be compared and to me this is their best and boldest effort since Long After Dark. There are of course Wildflowers (in terms of arrangements and production mainly) and Into The Great Wide Open (in terms of songs and attitude mainly) in between there too.. making the sentiment a bit tough to make. But what the heck - I feel generous. :) No matter, talk about late career masterpieces.. this is one.

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I think Hypnotic Eye is the 2nd best TPATH album, after Full Moon Fever. I know, the latter is technically Tom solo but I pretty much combine his work together since he's the primary songwriter. If one wants to separate solo from TPATH, then Hypnotic Eye is the best TPATH album.

 

What makes it so great, isn't just the songwriting but how the songs flow into each other, making for an incredibly fun listening experience. 

 

Take the first three, each of them are rockers but each do so in a distinctively different way. 

 

American Dream Plan B has a heavy riff juxtaposed with a hopeful ringing chorus and some interesting changes within the song.

Fault Lines swings with more interesting changes.

Red River grooves.

 

What a fantastic start!

 

Full Grown Boy grew on me very quickly, it's a sparse song, and that sparseness is a welcome and temporary respite from the album's beginning.

 

Then we get the amazing All You Can Carry, powerful, groovy rocking song.

 

Power Drunk (like the second last song) is one of the pair of weakest songs on the album but its placement works. It's an all right song, just not as good as the others on the album.

 

Then you slide right into Forgotten Man, what a beat, some great playing and memorable lyrics, another uptempo number.

 

Sins of my youth is a wistful, gentle song, the perfect follow up to Forgotten Man.

 

And then U Get Me High. Wow! Another catchy riff and groove.

 

The second last song, again, it's all right but is supported by the songs around it, leading to...

 

Shadow People. I hoped the song would kick it up a notch at the end and speed up or explode and was a bit disappointed with it on the first couple listens but now I enjoy it; more riffing and a nice lengthy conclusion with the very sweet epilogue of Tom's last lines in the song.

 

It's a great album, it rocks without them trying to recreate their 70s albums!

 

I think it's their second best work.

 

cheers

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Shadow People. I hoped the song would kick it up a notch at the end and speed up or explode and was a bit disappointed with it on the first couple listens but now I enjoy it; more riffing and a nice lengthy conclusion with the very sweet epilogue of Tom's last lines in the song.

That's funny MJ2LD, I felt exactly the same way the first few times I heard that song! I thought the song builds and builds, ominously (in a good way) to what should have been a cathartic, rambunctious solo. Instead you get Tom's more subdued underwhelming ending solo (which has been stretched out to good effect and improved live on the tour). When I heard that song on the album, my brain wanted Mike to play a better, more sophisticated solo on that outro- something closer to "Good Enough". I was disappointed at first, but have made my peace with it now. I still sometimes wish Mike took that outro to a higher place, but it's a killer song either way.

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Still think the album holds extremely well! The few cents I tossed about a month ago still rings true. Best since 82, most likely. Here's me trying to break that up a little, following the lead of others here..

 

Most kicking intro and or exciting first lines: American Dream Plan B - I'm way over how Fault Lines would've been a better opener. This one is perfect! Hands down. I stand corrected. One of the best opening songs on a TP album ever (an interesting issue in itself, for another thread perhaps..).

 

Most well kept (that is, first impression that proved to be exactly right): American Dream Plan B. (Most of the other songs has squirmed and developed a bit in my mind, but this one.. just is what it is. Beautifully so.

 

Most underrated: Full Grown Boy. A slight genius of a song, it turned out. Very unlike TP moreover, which is always exciting when he pulls it off. (Or Fault Lines if we speak of the band's own understanding of it and how they hardly gave it a chance live). 

 

Most overrated: Forgotten Man. (Great blue print of a song. And used many times, by many artists, at that. Not seldom to this sort of effect or indeed even better. It's alright, mind you. Sound is awesome. But how it got predestined a live staple over most of the other album songs, really beats me.

 

Best lyrics: I can't say. At least half of the album is among his best lyrics to me. Much more consistent than all the albums from Echo onwards, in that specific department. (Another interesting issue for another thread, I'd say..) Even the less perfect lyrics on Hypnotic Eye are pretty good.

 

(Still.. ) least good lyrics: Forgotten Man to me is the only song that has lyrics that can't grade at least "very good". A bit more of a shit happens moment, but as such.. some fair shit.

 

Most killer sound or instant classic moment soundwise: Fault Lines

 

Most beautiful moment: Sins of My Youth

 

Coolest groove: The bass lines on U Get Me High

 

Weirdest moment: I still have a bit of a hard time making Red River fit on this album. Already upon pre release I felt the song was cut and pasted together - something that I'd say that Ryan as much as admitted or implied in an interview I read - and that kind of made me feel two songs. Both good, but a little strange together. Also - the remaining over all feel of the song, it's vibe and it's lyrics - does feel a little at odds with the other stuff on this album. I hear an edgy Mudcrutch type song. Or two that was patched together. 

 

Greatest song: Ah.. haha! Try me again tomorrow.

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