Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Angel Dream: Album Review

For the 25th anniversary of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ 1996 album, Songs & Music from the Motion Picture She’s The One, Warner Records have unveiled Angel Dream – a remixed, remastered and reimagined version of the album.

Release date:  2nd July 2021

Label: Warner Brothers

Format: Vinyl / CD / digital

If you are expecting to bounce along and rock to the typical Tom Petty sound you are in for a surprise.

These tracks, some of which didn’t make it to the excellent Wallflowers album, are at times considerably darker and less spritely in mood, which is probably why they are more suited to the soundtrack to the film She’s The One.

During the Wallflower period, Petty was being encouraged to be more acoustic in timbre and more experimental and Angel Dream (No 2) reflects that.  Grew Up Fast  floats between calm and heavy  and stomps along. The doom laden lyrics of Change The Locks, which in parts is almost metal, rock in a shift of dynamics. This album is full of surprises and there are plenty alone in Zero From Outer space when at the end it’s almost as if Dave Brock from Hawkwind has become a Heartbreaker.  

“‘She’s The One’ was originally a great way to include some of the songs that didn’t make it on to Wildflowers, but it has its own thing to it, its own charm, and putting it out now in a restructured form makes for a sweet little treat,” says Heartbreaker Benmont Tench.

The treats in the form  of an eclectic choice of musical styles often needed for movie soundtracks  is clear even though they seemed determined to release the album as a Petty/Heartbreakers album rather than a movie soundtrack.  This really shows  Tom Petty’s compositional versatility, which possibly hadn’t been recognised or fulfilled before  Wallflowers and his ability to interpretation and arrangements to other artists’ songs.

His well tampered angst is poured out in Asshole  and his swing- style One Of Life’s Sweet Mysteries shows a real diversion from anything we would expect. Walls (No 3)  wouldn’t be amiss if it had appeared on Full Moon Fever, a real foot tapping Petty classic.An amazing cover of JJ Cale’s Thirteen Days in which Tom Petty does a very passable Dylan impersonation.He reverts to his own  style  as he certainly hots up proceedings with a raucous 105 Degrees. Hold onto your hat on this one!I don’t know the movie well enough but the crashing chords and searing solos in Climb That Hill reflect the positive recovery from a declining love affair.

A comment from Mike Campbell – ‘Supernatural Radio’ is extended with some great jamming interplay within the band, which I’m very proud of. The Heartbreakers could be really amazing and spontaneous. I hope you enjoy these little gems as much as I do,” aptly sums up the crescendo building track in which the band certainly lets loose ,throwing the kitchen sink at you (in a good way of course!)

The album is full of surprises, closing with French Disconnection – a melancholic 12 string acoustic  guitar instrumental which seems to reprise the melody of the opening track. It may be more typical for a soundtrack album than a rock album but it brings a joyous conclusion to a brilliant album.

Anyone who is unfamiliar with Tom Petty would do well to listen as it shows his versatility and the expertise of The Heartbreakers as a tight, multi talented band.

I’ll leave the final words with Tom Petty himself: “It seemed like we approached the whole thing with a very spontaneous mood. I like things that way, I don’t like to over-plan too much. It was terrific fun, we had a great time doing it.”

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