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iTunes Review

Three years in the making, Southern Accents was intended as a concept piece about Southern attitudes and identities, but the theme is only explicit on “Rebels,” “Spike” and the title song, a slow, spacious rumination on Petty’s Florida roots. Ironically, most of the album is anything but rustic. The taut, mechanical funk of “It Ain’t Nothin’ to Me” is totally different from the Heartbreaker’s traditional rock, while “Mary’s New Car” incorporates drum machines and jazz saxophone. Fortunately, Petty’s music retains its essential character in the face of innovations. Nowhere is this more apparent than “Don’t Come Around Here No More.” Producer Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics) builds the track on layers of electronic sound effects and dizzying drums, but despite its abstract approach to rock music, the song is one of Petty’s definitive performances. Southern Accents culminates with “The Best of Everything,” produced by the Band’s Robbie Robertson. Not only does the song recall the best of the Band, it also features contributions from Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel, in one of his last recordings before his 1986 suicide.

Customer Reviews

Petty's Concept Album

This is the closest TP has come to releasing a "concept album", though this one hangs together more on the basis of its sound than its theme. The horn charts and the Dave Stewart-produced tracks ("It Ain't Nothin' to Me", "Make It Better") haven't aged well, but on the other hand, there are some great songs here, especially the Robbie Robertson-produced "Best of Everything", which Petty had been performing in concert for some time before finally committing it to vinyl here. Some will proclaim this as his best, but for my money, "Damn the Torpedos" holds that honor.

The sounds of this album are unique!

Even though Tom Petty isn't considered New Wave, I really thought that "Don't come around here no more" nailed the format of new wave because of the atmospherics that make up the song (not to mention the awesome video). I have to say that Tom Petty is extremely talented, whether he does a new wave song or uses traditional bluesy/classic rock guitar (chord) progressions.

This is what started it all.

When I was eight years old my dad took me to a used record store to buy my first record. It was the 90s and everything was on tape but we listened to everything on vinyl. I was a big Tom Petty fan from what I had heard on the radio so he picked out "Southern Accents" for me. The woman who worked there looked at us and said that the song, "Spike, reminded her of this tv repairman that she had in her house recently. "Hey spike, you're scaring my wife!" This album started my Tom Petty obsession. After listening to this album over I had to have everything else. "Rebels" is my favorite song followed by "The Best of Everything", and of course, "Spike" makes the top three.

Biography

Formed: 1975

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Since 1976, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers have been one of America's finest rock & roll bands ever, combining the ringing guitars of the Byrds with the gritty rhythmic drive of the Rolling Stones. Petty's tales of American losers and dreamers were simple and direct, but emotionally charged. The Heartbreakers were a lean, tight band that could handle hard rock & roll and melodic pop equally well. The group gained critical attention and solid sales with their first album, but 1979's Damn...
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Southern Accents, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
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