Jump to content
Shelter

An American Treasure (2018) - Reviews & Ponderings

Recommended Posts

As Tench says in the liner notes: "People still say to me, ‘You guys were the soundtrack to my life.’ Well, we were the soundtrack to mine, too – I just heard it before anybody else. I grew up playing with these guys, and my heart is as broken as anybody’s.”

💔 Yes, our Hearts are broken !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On September 30, 2018 at 1:57 PM, Mr Timba said:

The main difference (in my ears) between the album track and this "alternate take" is a keyboard. The album track has a keyboard, and this alternate take don't. Apart from that keyboard, little things, little details, but the basic tracks are just the same.

 I've barely scratched the surface of what has been released but I don't know, I like the extended ending to Here Comes Your Girl but it's not that incredible that it's worth it, I don't think. Same with The Damage You've Done. It seemed faster, sharper, I liked hearing Tom tell them to keep it up or whatever he said and the ending too but was this really necessary? I tried listening to Good Enough but it sounded pretty similar to the album version, may go back to that one. It's moot but I really think they should've had a single disc option for the unreleased songs and the rare b-sides.

Wake Up Time, Sins of My Youth are quite different and make for an interesting listen but I don't know if hearing them was worth it or if it would've just been fine with individual tracks for download. Like I said, it's moot.

cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, livin´thing68 said:

"People still say to me, ‘You guys were the soundtrack to my life.’ Well, we were the soundtrack to mine, too – I just heard it before anybody else. I grew up playing with these guys, and my heart is as broken as anybody’s.”

That's a really good quote. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/1/2018 at 7:32 PM, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

 I don't know. My impression is they want to honor Tom and they would know more of what he said he liked or thought of regarding alternate takes from a while back. It may not be revisionism per se as more them acting on things mentioned by Tom or discussed by all of them over the years. Or not. Who knows? For sure, at some point, unless Tom left definitive written instructions the band will pretty much take over even if it is just Mike and Ben primarily. 

For me, there's a definite line drawn, TPATH albums begin with self-titled and end with Hypnotic Eye and everything else is just extras, bonus, etc. Tom had the say on all those records, everything else is a well intended approximation of what he may have wanted them to do. I guess my long-winded point is at some point they're going to do the best they can and you're right, it'll be Heartbreakers filter. But also, in the end, there's a finite amount of material they can release.

Can you expound on your point on revisionism?

Well, let's have a look at the statistics: there are 10 previously unreleased tracks, 13 live recordings, 17 album tracks - and 15 alternate versions / takes (the rest is miscellaneous). Almost as many as album tracks. You could read into that: We (the Heartbreakers) are happy with about half our official outtput, and we'd like to change the rest. It's hard to tell, though, because they need to justify a release like this one with things we(the longtime fans) haven't heard. They removed the "samples" from Rebels and Damage, and more than once there's talk of "de-glossing" in the liner notes, which means put the band to the fore again. I like what that does to the songs, don't get me wrong, but it also discards the work of the mixers and producers back then. That's what I mean by revisionism. We're not happy anymore with how some tracks sound, let's uncover our tracks and remove some of the production work. Two random examples: Straight Into Darkness and Deliver Me appear in their original tempos. The versions are, other than that, not significantly different from the album versions. They do not add anything to how we already know these two songs (except I now know why the album version of Strait Into Darkness is in a weird key between C and C#). It's nothing more than saying: Here's what we ACTUALLY played. But, like I said, they're entitled.

I think the Heartbreakers, consciously or not, like to stress their contribution to Petty's music. Thus, we now get a different perspective: We used to hear the songs with the producers' ears, so to speak, their versions of them (at least, as Scoppa points out in the notes, up until Wildflowers); we now hear the songs as the band hears them. Which is perfectly fine, but also an act of revisionism. A strong word, admittedly, it sounds more negative than I intended.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/2/2018 at 10:00 AM, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

 I prefer this slightly more uptempo version of the song over what made the album...but the version on the album fits the record best. After so many heavy emotions the album needs to close with something slower paced, reflective, plaintive. This version almost sounds as anthemic as Can't Stop the Sun. Again, the perfect song to close out that record, it first what came before it and brings things to a close. Same with Wake Up Time. While this song has more urgency to it, the other's more gentle nature matches the themes, while closing them off in a way, as if the entire album of Wildflowers was indeed a dream, or a tumble from dream to nightmare and back again, heavy moments, sad, funny, loving...but now it's over. Or perhaps metaphorically for one to stop looking within as much of Wildflowers does and now look without, the time for self-pity, contemplation, sadness while necessary is now over and it's back to life, hopefully as a stronger person.

This version is just too damn jaunty. I like it, but they made the right call with the other version for the finished record.

As to the vocals...I like both, they fit their respective takes; never really noticed anything really off with the original, but if there is, perhaps that slight distance between musical and vocal keys are key (pun intended) to what makes the song work, that imperfectness giving it charm.

cheers

I agree. The album version is ragged... but right.

Anyway, I didn't know Stan played in the early days of the Wildflowers sessions! Or maybe I just forgot... is that mentioned in Conversations or in Zanes' book? I was surprised to read Stan's name as drummer of Wake Up Time here. As usual, sadly, he does a beautiful job, whether he liked the new stylistic direction Tom went into or not. His playing has a swing to it, a looseness... they didn't do too many songs in 3/4 time with Stan, did they? His feel is just perfect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to be excited about hearing new songs... But I'm just sad. 
I finally listened to it last night and just sobbed my way thought it. 

So grateful to have this. I feel comforted by it, but the wound is still raw. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sat through multiple viewings of the "Gainesville" video last night and cried each time.  It feels like a kind of torture but I can't stop doing it.  The music itself, though, that is healing to me.

Share this post


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

We (the Heartbreakers) are happy with about half our official outtput, and we'd like to change the rest. It's hard to tell, though, because they need to justify a release like this one with things we(the longtime fans) haven't heard

That's interesting stuff, Mr. TwoGunslingers.

Since, as far as I know, the impetus was from the family to make this set as an overview and to show off a different lesser known side of Tom's songwriting, I think the last part of what you said sounds valid.

They have to justify a release like this and a good way to, is by offering up alternate takes, whether those are different versions of songs like Sins of My Youth or altered enough from the original to be significant like Wake Up Time.

But that doesn't mean the band wants to change the rest. It's perhaps more an examination or an attempt to share things they maybe wanted the world to hear but were filtered by producers and certain styles of the time.

Since they can't go forward as a band, it's natural to look back. I would've preferred a one or two disc of unreleased songs and others that are so different from the album versions to justify their presence. But looking at what they did instead of my preference and a box set needs material and it sounds like they also wanted to share a lot of deep cuts that most people haven't heard. It is kind of an odd set but I think I get where they are coming from. 

If it's true they could've released a box set of just unreleased songs and this set had a different goal, an overview through the past with some different versions and unreleased songs to give extra value, then perhaps in the future there will be more of that, just hopefully not as a big box but as individual albums.

10 hours ago, TwoGunslingers said:

I think the Heartbreakers, consciously or not, like to stress their contribution to Petty's music. Thus, we now get a different perspective:

 It's possible. I think it's more simply wanting certain versions of songs out there that perhaps they felt were superior, I guess in this case the Southern Accents tracks. But it's also effecting Tom's vocals and guitar playing too, it's not just that scrubbing off some of the sheen from these tracks only show off the band, they're showing more of what the whole group, including Tom maybe intended. Between the cocaine, injured hand and who knows what else that album or songs from it certainly seem to benefit from this approach.

10 hours ago, TwoGunslingers said:

we now hear the songs as the band hears them. Which is perfectly fine, but also an act of revisionism. A strong word, admittedly, it sounds more negative than I intended.

 I get what you're saying. Sure, it's a strong word, reading it almost feels like you think the band feels they never got their due and now they can, which makes the whole enterprise feel wrong and isn't what I think they're doing. I don't think that's what you think either, it's just the word revisionism and the quick common reaction to it. Does that make sense to you?

For me, it's more of a peek behind the curtain, the band is saying here's some samples of the work in progress, what do you listeners think?

cheers

 

Share this post


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

Anyway, I didn't know Stan played in the early days of the Wildflowers sessions!

Either I didn't know or I forgot as well; I'd be curious to hear those songs. It makes it seem like there could've been a way forward with him in the band, heck, Wildflowers could've been officially a Heartbreakers record even though it is in all but name. I'm curious how It's Good To Be King sounded with Stan.

cheers

Share this post


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

but it also discards the work of the mixers and producers back then.

 I haven't listened enough to know if I like the "de-glossed" versions better or not but I can see why they'd want to do this; picture playing so well on a track and the producer buries your part under gloss, not to serve the song as originated by the band, but from the producer's own sensibilities or what was hip at the time. I don't blame the band for wanting to share some of this and if not now, then when?

I can see why you went with revisionism.

But overall, I'd rather hear unreleased songs or like I said, tunes that are really different from the album versions.

cheers

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can't discard or revise works which still exist and can be obtained in their original iterations.  You can only provide a variant.  So I don't hold with the revisionist argument myself, however it is meant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On October 1, 2018 at 10:31 AM, Shelter said:

Don’t Fade on Me. Great song! The differences in arrangement is great, if not necessarily preferable – hard to tell – but the vocal delivery again, is something extra.

 It could just be I'm so familiar with the original and it was one of the songs I initially liked on the record that I prefer it. Don't need another verse. The song is so good it's not that the additional verse ruins it, I just think it's unneeded, the song works better without it. I think the shorter time makes it more impactful.

cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On October 1, 2018 at 9:59 AM, TwoGunslingers said:

it's not a live collection,

I know this wasn't the band's style for the most part but I think it would be nice if future live releases are complete shows, warts n' all from different tours, with bonus tracks of songs infrequently played on said tour.

And if there aren't any, that's fine too. But they've done the big compilation, now it would be good to have official live recordings of full shows.

Of course, by this point in time, fortunately the generous fans have shared a lot of good soundboard quality recordings so these releases would be less geared for the hardcore and more for the casual, releasing a live show from a different tour every couple years, maybe with a few liner notes from the band and what they thought or remembered from that time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On October 1, 2018 at 10:57 AM, Shelter said:

I don't like buying the same songs again. I don't particularly like mixing studio and live music. But........

I feel the same way. When Playback came out I was all right with it since there was no internet, or, wait, it was just in its early days and any new TPATH plus songs I hadn't heard and the occasional live track felt special. But generally, I prefer my live music with other live tracks, it's a bit jarring to go from crowd reaction to studio.

On October 1, 2018 at 10:57 AM, Shelter said:

 By lifting those hits away and sampling the other dimensions - including both released and unreleased - makes for a strange and beatiful ride, must say. A very personal and genuine collection is the result. You hear even the familiar through a new and slightly different angle.

That's a nice way of putting it. I would've preferred the unreleased and the different versions of songs on a tight two disc set but looking at what they did and not what I'd prefer, it is an interesting mix of music. I hope this overview as you put it is now the final word on such releases where the same or slightly different versions of songs are released and future endeavors focus on music they'd forgotten about over the years and perhaps live concerts from different tours. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

echo is tom petty to me

I believe it's his only cd where his raw emotions come out songs are less vague he lets you into his pain

I don't belong instantly struck a chord with me 

gainseville not really

I was on a trip to wonderful san diego last week and I listened to American treasure on my 3 hour flight home

always love surrender

keep a little soul is a hell of a gem in the vault

straight into darkness/you can still change your mind/rebels/deliver me/alright for now, the damage you've done/best of everything/ walking from the fire/king of the hill was a hell of a great 9 songs most of the general audience haven't heard

I appreciated gainsville as it was very personal all of a sudden it wasn't vague it wasn't meant to have multiple meanings it was tom speaking of his past I don't belong was tom speaking how he felt currently.   I have always loved echo it's the only album (in my oppnion) where tom puts his emotions conflicting as they maybe completely out there  I hope there is a lot more in the vault.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My opinion is the good songs were released by Tom.  There is a reason he kept songs in the vault...and that's where they should remain.

I like hearing some of the songs - but none are as good as the songs Tom released...he was a musical genius and knew what the best songs were.

Some of the songs were just slight variations of songs already released and didn't see much difference with some of them anyway.

The boxset is fairly good....but for me, nothing beats the Playback boxset which was curated by the master himself, Tom Petty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, twisterseal said:

My opinion is the good songs were released by Tom.  There is a reason he kept songs in the vault...and that's where they should remain.

 I disagree. I think Walkin' from the Fire is a really good track and it's surprising it didn't make it onto Southern Accents. Tom wasn't infallible and the band, while definitely under his leadership wasn't a dictatorship. They let Tom know if they didn't like something. Remember at one point, You Wreck Me was You Rock Me and while Tom felt something was off with that, I'm sure the band had no problems telling him so as well.

So to think so much good music could possibly just collect dust because some songs didn't fit on an album, would in my opinion, be a big mistake. Of course, no one wants record company execs repackaging the same songs over and over ad nauseam but I think Mike and Ben are good stewards of the music. Tasteful releases of good music and interesting alternate takes are valid, there could be some really good songs just waiting to be heard by the public that didn't make sense with the record at the time, but are still enjoyable and a credit to Tom and the band's creativity and musicianship.

cheers

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

×