Album Review

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Angel Dream

Even Petty fans hip to the initial soundtrack will want to add this refreshed take to their collections.

Album Cover - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Angel Dream 2021

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Is this the great lost Tom Petty album? It just might be.

When Warner Brothers released Tom Petty’s soundtrack for 1996’s She’s the One, a soon to be forgotten Jennifer Aniston flick, it didn’t receive the response typically associated with his superstar status. But the keepers of his recorded legacy are hoping to change that. This remixed, remastered, reimagined and generally rejiggered disc is the result – and since Petty was involved with the sonic upgrade just before his passing, his imprimatur provides additional gravitas, making it more genuine than just a posthumous cash-in.

Initially, Petty was asked by director Ed Burns to contribute a single track for the film, but was reluctant to be part of a various artists compilation. However, when a deal was struck for his band to record the soundtrack in its entirety, he jumped in with both feet.

“It seemed we approached the whole thing with a very spontaneous mood… It was terrific fun, we had a great time doing it”, he said in a 1996 interview. Those words are justified by the final product. This revamped edition drops a few tracks, such as the instrumental ‘Airport’, but adds four more recorded around the same period, all heretofore unreleased. Their inclusion makes this more of an official Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers release and less of a soundtrack.

Included is a terrific version of ‘Thirteen Days’, J.J. Cale’s moody treatise of being on the road (a concert staple at the time), the rollicking garage rocking ‘105 Degrees’ and a retro ditty ‘One of Life’s Little Mysteries’, arguably the weakest of the three but still a loose, charming performance. Elsewhere, Petty and company grind out a swampy, intense interpretation of Lucinda Williams’ ‘Change the Locks’ and a laid-back take on Beck’s ‘Asshole’. Both studio performances are unusual since Petty generally saved covers for live shows, but they gel beautifully in the context of the other tunes.

The mid-tempo rocker ‘Supernatural Radio’ – one of the album’s highlights – gets extended by just under a minute, only adding to its ominous, taut and unsettling vibe of a relationship unspooling. It stands to remain as one of Petty’s forgotten gems. The glistening ‘Walls (No.3)’ is a solid alternate of the more popular ‘Walls (Circus)’, whilst ‘Grew Up Fast’ is yet another diamond in the rough well worth reviving.

Even Petty fans hip to the initial soundtrack will want to add this refreshed take to their collections. For the rest of us who may not have even been aware it existed, it’s like unearthing a terrific Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album - one hiding in plain sight for the past twenty-five years and now ripe for (re) discovery.

9/10