(1991) Into The Great Wide Open

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

... read moreSince Full Moon Fever was an unqualified commercial and critical success, perhaps it made sense that Tom Petty chose to follow its shiny formula when he reunited with the Heartbreakers for its follow-up, Into the Great Wide Open. Nevertheless, the familiarity of Into the Great Wide Open is something...

43′:55″ 12 Songs

1
Learning To Fly
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
4:01
2
Kings Highway
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
3:05
3
Into The Great Wide Open
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
3:42
4
Two Gunslingers
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
3:08
5
The Dark Of The Sun
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
3:23
6
All Or Nothin'
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
4:05
7
All The Wrong Reasons
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
3:44
8
Too Good To Be True
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
3:58
9
Out In The Cold
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
3:41
10
You And I Will Meet Again
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
3:45
11
Makin' Some Noise
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
3:25
12
Built To Last
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
3:58
Released 01 January 1991, ℗ 1991 Geffen Records

Review

Since Full Moon Fever was an unqualified commercial and critical success, perhaps it made sense that Tom Petty chose to follow its shiny formula when he reunited with the Heartbreakers for its follow-up, Into the Great Wide Open. Nevertheless, the familiarity of Into the Great Wide Open is something of a disappointment. The Heartbreakers' sound has remained similar throughout their career, but they had never quite repeated themselves until here. Technically, it isn't a repeat, since they weren't credited on Full Moon, but Wide Open sounds exactly like Full Moon, thanks to Jeff Lynne's overly stylized production. Again, it sounds like a cross between latter-day ELO and roots rock (much like the Traveling Wilburys, in that sense), but the production has become a touch too careful and precise, bordering on the sterile at times. And, unfortunately, the quality of the songwriting doesn't match Full Moon or Let Me Up (I've Had Enough). That's not to say that it rivals the uninspired Long After Dark, since Petty was a better craftsman in 1991 than he was in 1983. There are a number of minor gems -- "Learning to Fly," "Kings Highway," "Into the Great Wide Open" -- but there are no knockouts, either; it's like Full Moon Fever if there were only "Apartment Song"s and no "Free Fallin'"s. In other words, enough for a pleasant listen, but not enough to resonate like his best work. (And considering this, perhaps it wasn't surprising that Petty chose to change producers and styles on his next effort, the solo Wildflowers.) ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine