June 24, 2010

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Mojo
Reprise Records/WEA, June 15
The more your ear allows in what’s current the more clear it becomes that blues is quickly going the way of R&B-diva longevity. Twelve-bar has wilted to soil profoundly depleted in today’s musical landscape, a place now ultimately habitable only by bands that can successfully throw the right sort of electro at the right sort of world/jazz/pop/whatnot dartboard.

Enter this, a record that like its creator isn’t concerned with what you or Billboard or Warner Brothers think, it’s just, you know, blues, an old sock Petty wore when he was a 20something and which he revisited with his old-sock band Mudcrutch in 2008 for an album whose sessions were summed up “We would play and then we would just talk about the old days,” by the band’s old-buddy guitarist, who is not Mike Campbell, who is, thankfully, here to lay down one more carpet of desert-plains guitar.

The play-by-play isn’t enticing to a hip guy like you: “Candy” is “Dirty Water” in a fake moustache; “I Should Have Known It” resulted from some Physical Graffiti flashbacks; “Let Yourself Go” is “L.A. Woman” version 1.5; “Don’t Pull Me Over” is a footnote from Reggae For Dummies; and “Lover’s Touch” is a Clapton snooze. Rolling Stone – at least oldschool Rolling Stone – would softball a few comments about “roots,” “longevity,” “royalty” and “badass solos,” but in reality all that goes on here is an old royal idly marking his longevity by going back to his roots and letting Campbell do a little badass soloing – nothing of note, in other words. B-Eric W. Saeger