The new record has a darker hue in places than some chapters in the Petty catalogue, with a thick, present sound and lyrics so sharp they draw blood. A bit of Mudcrutch's psychedelic bent also finds its way into the proceedings, particularly on standout "First Flash of Freedom."
"The takes were usually very early takes, and I wanted to leave room for improvisation. We didn't really demo this up. I just came in with my guitar, played them a song on it and took it from there," says Petty. "So, everyone had a lot to contribute. I guess 'organic' is an overused word but it is pretty organic because it was created right there on the studio floor. We didn't polish it up. We just took it as it was. The groove was the important thing. I wanted everything to have a deep pocket, and I think we succeeded pretty much on that level."
In 2010, rock has largely lost its hips, ceded the dance floor to urban soul and mainstream pop and country, forgetting its early primary purpose of getting folks to sway and grind together to the beat. Thankfully, masters like Petty and his running partners haven't lost the script.