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August 12, 1996 12:00 PM

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

The ninth Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers studio album is also billed as “Songs and Music from the Motion Picture She’s the One,” written and directed by Edward Burns (The Brothers McMullen). While modern pop soundtracks rarely jibe with the onscreen action, Petty and the boys have come up with a companion piece truly in sync with Burns’s romantic comedy about rocky relationships. But most of these tunes are no laughing matter. In one song a chronic loser gripes about being “overdue for a dream come true,” while another poor sap throws a former girlfriend a seriously bitter parting punch: “I hope you never fall in love with somebody like you.”

Sure, Petty has crossed this terrain before, but pouty—and just plain old bitchy on “Zero from Outer Space”—becomes him. And for the first time since the 1989 release Full Moon Fever, he and the Heartbreakers rough up their pastoral rock, giving that stately southern accent a sloppier, more rootsy twang. (Now if he’d only give those clichéd harmonica solos a rest.)

Listening to “Walls (Circus)” and “Climb That Hill,” the scrappiest tunes of the bunch, gives one the tipsy thrill of holing up in some honky-tonk where Jack Daniel’s is king, country and western rocks the jukebox, and misery loves company. (Warner Bros.)

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