Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
dollardime

Rank your favorite Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers albums in order of preference!!!

Recommended Posts

17 hours ago, martin03345 said:

"Ain't Love Strange" is one of the greatest throw away tracks ever. I absolutely love it. I agree with the sentiment that LMU is an underrated album

I just listened to it. Yeah, pretty good tune. In its brevity, reminds me of Yer So Bad. 

Does a lot in a very short amount of time. In fact, it sounds like it could've been a hit single.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎5‎/‎14‎/‎2018 at 5:37 PM, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

But listening to the whole thing in one go just doesn't work for me.

Me neither.

It's a puzzle I haven't been able to figure out, Shelter could probably help here: There are great songs on the album I really like (Runaway Trains, It'll All Work Out, Self-Made Man, Let Me Up, heck, I even like All Mixed Up most of the time!), but it doesn't add up to one good album for me.

Maybe it's the clash of two different production styles (Mike's intricate, rahter polished tracks vs. Tom's rough'n'ready first takes).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, TwoGunslingers said:

Maybe it's the clash of two different production styles (Mike's intricate, rahter polished tracks vs. Tom's rough'n'ready first takes).

 I decided to give this record a spin and see how it sounds. I'll say this, the sound of Runaway Trains is awful, like a bunch of 80s music cliche in one song, bad drums, distant sound, bombast without power. Also, the song isn't that good. It's all right, it just goes on too long. I prefer the live version from this tour. I like Self-Made Man but...I think this combination of songs just don't work together as an album, if these tunes were spread out across other albums they'd be just fine, but all in one place, it's just not good in my opinion. I think some songs on here are of such higher quality that they would stand out on any record but particularly do so on this one but the effect is they make the other tracks seem weaker.

It's definitely odd. I suppose in some way, perhaps the album cover is a clue. A badly "stitched" together face of the band members, instead of a brilliant union it's an ugly jumble, kind of like saying here's what happens when you jam them all together...this...thing

And look what happens after, FMF, a change of approach for Tom, bigger hits, more success and then ITGWO and Wildflowers, the latter of which is one of his most popular and beloved records.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, TwoGunslingers said:

It's a puzzle I haven't been able to figure out, Shelter could probably help here:

I am fairly certain I can't live up to that.. But thanks! 

On the one hand, I think you may be on to something by pointing towards the dual (at best) directions of the production, though. In a way I hear LMU(IHE) as two things: One, a continuation of the glorious mess that was producing and overproducing Southern Accents - there sure still is a similar sense of confusion and being at odds with one's time, a lack of strong vision. The other, LMU(IHE) may be seen as the first sign of the split that was looming, the next to end of the tether , when Tom soon was gonna find his way forward elsewhere. MJ2LD is on to this too, it seems. After the studio (and partly personal) mess that was the SA sessions, I believe TPATH was finding themself to be a live band, foremost. They were basically lost in terms of studio directions and had at least two main visions competing, like you say. The result is a somewhat confused album (that still produced a hit single, a video and a vibe that all was great). Just a year after the release of LMU(IHE) new sessions broke down, so yeah... I'd say they didn't have a strong vision at the time.

Then, as we all know, Tom dealt with the halt TPATH had come to, by taking a break, playing with the bearded wizard and his other new ultra famous friends, which probably, in the long run was all for the better. But given the nature of the confusion that had the 80s end with TPATH all but falling apart as a studio BAND, reviving them in 91, under the lead of the bearded wizard himself may have proven genius in some way, but it must have told at least Stan a grim message. The future was perhaps not as wide open after all. Not for them as a studio band, anyway. This is what I can sense the beginning of, when listening to LMU(IHE). All in hindsight, of course.

On the other hand (finally!), the songs themselves are not all there, are they. Not sure exactly what was in the pipe, but given that they were restless, hungry, dissatisfied or whatever enough to start new sessions so soon after LMU, may suggest to me that perhaps they should've waited out two or three more strong songs, before making the final cut of LMU(IHE). Regardless of said production "issues", that is. I have noticed though, that those are not issues with everybody anyway. But I think more than half of the album is stellar, on paper, but not much of that reaches it's full potential. And the filler is both too weak and too weakly handled to render a total result other than a slight fail. Too bad with all this confusion, on a potentially great record. It's all mixed up. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

It's definitely odd. I suppose in some way, perhaps the album cover is a clue. A badly "stitched" together face of the band members, instead of a brilliant union it's an ugly jumble, kind of like saying here's what happens when you jam them all together...this...thing

Interesting trail of thought. Briliant! As a once rather organic studio outfit, they really were stitched together at this point. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To really discuss and analyze Let Me Up, I think the following interview is a must-read:

http://www.billdeyoung.com/archives/rednecks-in-space-tom-petty-mike-campbell-on-bob-dylan-the-heartbreakers-and-let-me-up-1986/

This was conducted after LMU was recorded but before it was sequenced and released. First of all, that is a must-read interview because I think it is the least guarded I've ever seen TP with a reporter. He may have had a few drinks or something, but whatever the reason, it's a side of him you just don't normally see in interviews!

In any case, he enthusiastically describes LMU as

"real rock 'n' roll ... real barrel-out stuff."

He goes on:

"It sounds better than the first album. It’s a lot more raucous than the first album. You know how they always say 'God, I wish he’d make a rock ‘n’ roll record like he used to'? Well, this is a lot better than the rock ‘n’ roll records we used to make."

Wow! That is some high praise from the man himself! What happened? With the benefit of hindsight, the author puts it well:

"The record wound up getting second-guessed and diluted with lesser, pop-oriented material."

I think this was a classic case of TP overthinking things, getting in his own way, and being confused. A producer like Iovine or Rubin may have added some big-picture clarity to the decision-making process. But instead, the specter of missing "Boys of Summer," along with the distraction of his marital woes at the time, weighed TP down too much.

I personally like LMU, but it feels too restrained. I can't imagine why "Ways to Be Wicked" and "Can't Get Her Out" were left off the final product. Those two are must haves. You can make a good case for "Make That Connection" and "Got My Mind Made Up" also. Those all fit the spirit of that album, more than something like "All Mixed Up." And who knows what else they recorded that we've never heard!

The only beef I have with "Runaway Trains" is the line "like when something dies." I really think, if TP put his mind to it for more than a millisecond, he could've come up with something significantly better and more descriptive than that. Two quick examples: "like when true love dies" or "like when your dream dies."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, High Grass Dog said:

To really discuss and analyze Let Me Up, I think the following interview is a must-read:

Right - classic interview, that!

You are left with three main alternatives, (or a combination of them) :  Is this just Tom babbling, like most artists tend to do when trying to plug a new album (and like Tom himself done a time or two since 1986 too, for that matter?) Or is this Tom high as a kite delusional? Or was he merely talking about an early draft, an album/tracklist/mix that was never to be.

The leftover songs you mention would've raised the bar in terms of punch and energy. But I'm not convinced that itself would've saved the day. If they are good enough songs - perhaps some of them are - we still have the dynamics and production style(s) issues standing in the way of making it the killer album.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, martin03345 said:

And saying LMU is a jumble is correct, but it's not worse in it's cohesiveness then Southern Accents. Not by a long shot.

I think I prefer the individual songs of LMU more than SA but both albums are surprising weak spots after Long After Dark. A chance for the Heartbreakers to go wild and be off the cuff resulting in songs that don't work well together and a concept album that never comes together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Shelter said:

The future was perhaps not as wide open after all. Not for them as a studio band, anyway. This is what I can sense the beginning of, when listening to LMU(IHE). All in hindsight, of course.

On the other hand (finally!), the songs themselves are not all there, are they. Not sure exactly what was in the pipe, but given that they were restless, hungry, dissatisfied or whatever enough to start new sessions so soon after LMU, may suggest to me that perhaps they should've waited out two or three more strong songs, before making the final cut of LMU(IHE). Regardless of said production "issues", that is. I have noticed though, that those are not issues with everybody anyway. But I think more than half of the album is stellar, on paper, but not much of that reaches it's full potential. And the filler is both too weak and too weakly handled to render a total result other than a slight fail. Too bad with all this confusion, on a potentially great record. It's all mixed up. 

Very nicely said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, High Grass Dog said:

I personally like LMU, but it feels too restrained. I can't imagine why "Ways to Be Wicked" and "Can't Get Her Out" were left off the final product. Those two are must haves. You can make a good case for "Make That Connection" and "Got My Mind Made Up" also

 Those songs would've definitely changed the record.

4 hours ago, High Grass Dog said:

And who knows what else they recorded that we've never heard!

 Yes, there could be some gems. Too bad the album wasn't all "barrel-out." Thanks for sharing that interview. More songs with the energy of Jamming Me and Let Me Up. I think Runaway Trains would've been quite good at Breakdown length or three minutes at the most.

My Life/Your World, Jamming and Let Me Up are the three best songs on there in my opinion.

cheers 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, so the way this thread derailed into Let Me Up 101, is quite fascinating.

It all inspired me to spend some extra time with this record over the last few days, trying to wrap my head around it a little extra, with the things discussed here in mind. To me it is really clear that the album suffers from confusion, both in production and in material, as stated above. But it's not as far off target as one may suspect uopn a quick glance. 

In a parallell dimension - and more in line with Tom's self-image at the time, perhaps - this is how the album could have ended up, history changed. I'll list the tracks in order, with comments.

A1: Jammin' Me - Quite good song. A bit dated, in more than one way, but so what. Of course it could have been more daring in terms of rough guitars, but it's alright given it pop:ed up in 1987. The bridge at roughly 2.20 is fantastic! Q: Is it just me, hearing Bob in my head all over this song. With his inimitable long whining phrasing. "You can keep meee, painted in a coooorner..."

A2: Runaway Trains - Not a half bad song, to my ears. But they should've given this one a different treatment. There might be something to that Boys Of Summer 2.0 theory mentioned, but like that song, they should have given this more edge, more speed, more punch. Quite an awful attempt at mid-tempo grandeur, in terms of production. There are traces of fake oriental strings a la Don't Come Around Here No More in the intro, and then loop:ed in the background. Not great.

A3: Ways To Be Wicked - Technically this is a Southern Accent or even Long After Dark outtake, originally. At least it was given up on passed on to Lone Justice already in 1985. Anyway, it would have fitted nicely here, for sure. Also, some ques for sound, the way you hear this song on Playback, would have worked wonders for lots of corners of this album.

A4: My Life/Your World - What does that intro got to do with anything? Some of the best sounds of the record, ironically, but still. This song, again, is not bad on paper, but I don't like the temper of it, nor the arrangement, one bit. Failed opportunity here. There something about Mike's handeling of this song that makes me think they'd be better of giving it to Mark Knopfler. He could, perhaps have saved it's glory. I am pondering if I would've kept this one or All Mixed Up. Close call, but not a fun one.

A5: It'll All Work Out - Masterpiece, of course. There is the other mix too.. But, well.. Either way. Just a great song and perfectly handled, all things considered.

 

B1: Got My Mind Made Up - Not the best song ever. But Tom's version - the way it's heard on Playback - is far better than Bob's, in my view and could've done ok here. Great beat to kick of an album b-side too.

B2: Think About Me - Simple enough. Quite good. Not badly cut etiher. Ben and Mike is awesome in the details here! I realize the irony, but this is actually one of the few songs that actually sounds every bit the way I picture mid 80s TPATH in my mind. 

B3: Can't Get Her Out - Not totally sure. Something is missing to this song. But consider what we have to work with, I think this could work ok here.  

B4: Ain't Love Strange - Again, quintessential 80s mid 80s TPATH to me. Wonderful! I have no real issues with this one. Peraps a bit more Howie? I think he drives this one with the harmonies and he should have gone further and wider with the bass drive too. Perhaps.

B5: Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) - One of the most underrated songs in all of the cataloge. Great song and a fair job with arrangement and production. Again Howie is key, and could perhaps have been more prominent in making this masterpiece a tad heavier. Find the bass around 1:35-1:40 somewhere, and just imagine if it was really fuzzy and pumping... you get the picture. Yes. That's it! Then make the song at least 4:30 - 5:00 minutes. Go nuts!

 

That, to me, is considerably better. If not perfect. Not sure if there are any other known songs floating around. Can't think of any. But it wouln't take a too splendid song to knock antoher one of those suggestions around, so I am gonna count on them having at least something else in the vaults that would be worth considering here.

Outtakes:

The Damage You've Done - There is a few live renditions of this song that work, but.. I think I'd scrap it from this album.

A Self Made Man - Nice little chorus! But, no. Thank you.

All Mixed Up - This one is too weak, in my book. It was a single! Imagine that. I would not even have included it on the album, if I had just one more decent song to pick from. Although, I think the production is copmaratively successful. I say single b-side, for this one! Every was as good as Make That Connection - or better actually.

How Many More Days - Some quality to the verse here, but I'm not sure exactly what.. and the "chorus" is hopeless. This song has a bit of a weird structure to me. Feels undone somehow, it does not lift.

 

Hm... We really should lift a good section of this thread into a new Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) thread. Anyone?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, so.. I've had enough.. :) Moving on! Back to topic! Over a dozen Let My Up related posts later, that discussion was redirected to a better suited thread (see former post).

And I just realized I haven't even contributed a full list to this thread yet. Partly because I find the task impossible and somewhat silly, surely. But also partly because I done it a long time ago. Turned out I didn't. And why not give it a go? Right. Leaving Mudcrutch, Wilburys and live albums out, here goes:

No.. I can't do it. 

How about this, grading.. where 10 is best possible grade?

 

10: Long After Dark, Hard Promises, You're Gonna Get It

9: TPATH, Wildflowers, Into The Great Wide Open, Full Moon Fever, Highway Companion

8. Damn The Torpedoes

7: She's The One, Hypnotic Eye, The Last DJ

6. Southern Accents, Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)

5. Echo, Mojo   

 

In other words, not a really bad apple in the basket. I used to grade some of the albums differently, but these things change over time. I suppose what has come with age, in my case, is listening to the small things differntly, paying a bit more attention to production details, also appreciating some of the writing aspects differently, as in appreciating songs not only for what they are, but for they may have been, and how they work in context. Things like that. Not that I was ever a sloppy listener, but still.. Of course it's also a matter of slowly getting a better understanding of each albums context. And how stuff age, how sometimes new things reveal themselves after a hundred spins, while other times not. That type of "potential", shall we say, also inform my grading more these days, than they did five or ten or 20 years ago. 

IOW, it's really hard to rank these albums for me, as I generally love this band and what they bring, individually and as a group, with their incredible skills and vibes. But I'd say that there is two main perks or problems at play for me: It's the production aspect and it's the amount of what I find to be filler. In short, too much production issues will make a grade 10 or 9  impossible. Just as too much filler will sink an otherwise great sounding album, of course.

 

And, just for fun I'll grade the sleeves and packaging too:

10: Wildflowers, Into The Great Wide Open, Southern Accents, You're Gonna Get It

8. Full Moon Fever, TPATH, Damn The Torpedoes, The Last DJ, Hard Promises

5: Hard Promises (UK), Long After Dark, Echo, Mojo

3: Let Me Up (I've Had Enough), She's The One, Hypnotic Eye

1: Highway Companion

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On May 18, 2018 at 6:05 AM, Shelter said:

I find the task impossible and somewhat silly, surely. But also partly because I done it a long time ago. Turned out I didn't. And why not give it a go? Right. Leaving Mudcrutch, Wilburys and live albums out, here goes:

No.. I can't do it. 

How about this, grading.. where 10 is best possible grade?

 It's definitely silly.

10: FMF/Hypnotic Eye

9: Damn the Torpedoes/Long After Dark

The rest is an ever shifting jumble except for the worst ones:

Echo/Mojo/Highway Companion/Southern Accents/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently went through a lot of the albums, listening to songs I've rarely listened to and some I've heard quite a bit. Southern Accents continues to flounder towards the bottom of the pile. While having two of their best songs DCAHNM and It Ain't Nothin' To Me, the horns and some of the songwriting combine to make a bad record. I like more songs on Let Me Up but the way they're placed together doesn't make for a good listen, I don't know what you can do with this record. It sounds like a lot of bland light rock.  Mary's New Car and Dog on the Run have potential but not like this. I used to like Spike more but it's just not very engaging. 

The first two records have some nice and interesting songs and while not my favorite, they're definitely engaging. Damn the Torpedoes is one of their best, same with Long After Dark. 

I still think they're a much weirder band than people think, but at the same time I understand that some people won't ever venture past the Greatest Hits too, which is fine, that's a heck of a collection.

I even enjoyed No Reason to Cry and Don't Pull Me Over for the first time. 

I haven't listened to Full Moon Fever in a long time and again, I'm now struck by how amazing it is; that despite overplaying it in the past and hearing the same couple songs from the record in concert and on recordings, it's just a really good record, definitely up there as the best with Hypnotic Eye, for me.

For all the valid criticism of Jeff Lynne's drum approach, how he treated the band and Stan etc. I like the drum sound on Full Moon Fever. They're crisp, dynamic with some interesting fills and rolls; very tasteful and memorable. Better than Into the Great Wide Open.

The transition between A Face in the Crowd and Runnin' Down a Dream remains one of the best on any TPATH record, the mellow sad ending giving way to Mike's best riff and one of Tom's most optimistic rocking songs with the best Mike Campbell solo, taking the listener on an exciting and fun voyage!

The second half remains a fun record and I'm glad they kept Zombie Zoo on there.

I think Echo has a good e.p. hidden inside and well, She's The One is underrated though maybe not here on this forum.

cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Last Dj stayed exactly the same; I still the title track would be vastly improved with no acoustics, a faster tempo and a filthy overdriven guitar and lots of bass. Dreamville is a pretty song. Money Becomes King is a TPATH masterpiece. Lost Children is good, and Can't Stop The Sun is a good song and way to end the record. There are some high points on this record but as with nearly all of TPATH records and the "solo" albums, there's a good to great e.p. hidden in each one.

 

cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh my.. that was rough.

I'm exhausted. For real. My brain hurts. Those guys screaming all over each other, constantly cutting in, interrupting (I really hate that guy in the hat now, what a jerk), babbling, over-excited.. the hands.. the background music.. the bloodpreassure.. It's all too much. I find them very annoying. Some tidbits of interesting info in there, though, so thanks for posting!  Now I'm off to hunt down an aspirin...

(As for Ivovine, "being on the verge of being Jimmy Iovine", I suppose Born To Run, Darkness on The Edge of Town, Easter and all that didn't count..)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not really prepared to rate every album, and I've thought about it for a while.  Usually I can do that, but I think as a byproduct of mourning I can't process it right now.

My top three are:

Hard Promises

You're Gonna Get It!

Damn the Torpedoes

...and I freely admit I'm a dinosaur who loves the first twenty years all out of proportion to the entire history.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×