Album Review: “Damn The Torpedoes” by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers live at the Fillmore - Allyn Kessler / Youtube
Tom Petty was in the midst of a financial crisis and shackled in the industry’s creative bureaucracy when he started making Damn The Torpedoes. After his label was bought by MCA Records, Petty had to make a deal with the devil and find a way to make things work with the new label. After finding middle ground with the company, Petty brought together the band that would be known as the Heartbreakers from then on, and looked back on some of his old Mudcrutch records, all the while writing original material for the album. Joined by iconic and longtime collaborator Jimmy Iovine, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers were set for success.
The album starts off with the quintessential “Refugee”, which was a thick slew of progressions and harmonies that was highlighted by Petty’s thin but pillar-like vocals. “Here Comes My Girl” carries the same infectious energy as the opener, pairing a standard rock song rhythm with some sort of off-beat guitar work, Petty concluding the track with a satisfying hook all throughout. “Even The Losers” is as classic rock as it gets, and follows Petty’s signature formula off the bat. To contrast the high energies of the preceding tracks, “Shadow Of A Doubt (A Complex Kid)” mellows it out quite well. Closing the first side is “Century City”, featuring Petty in his most excited state.
“Don’t Do Me Like That” is from Petty’s Mudcrutch days, and is an all-out catchy rocker with its indulgent guitar parts which rides on a trilling piano progression. The band turns up to funk influences with “You Tell Me” and its signature bass riff. “What Are You Doin’ In My Life” takes a twangy bend with its slide guitar and honky-tonk piano progression, while the album closer “Louisiana Rain” is a brooding ballad that swigs a dose of southern rock up its gullet.
At the mention of classic rock albums, no one can count Damn The Torpedoes out. The genuine quality and drive Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers poured into its creation still shines today, and was a landmark of the end of rock’s golden age.