MojoAlbum | Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers By Jim Allen
Bluesy songs born of rehearsal-room jams.
The good news first: Mojo, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ first album in eight years, is a major improvement on its predecessor, the turgid, misbegotten 2002 concept album The Last DJ. (Note to Petty: “The last DJ who plays what he wants to play” retired around the time you were growing your first moustache and plunking out Animals covers with your early '70s band Mudcrutch.) In fact, Mojo seems to take some cues from the organic, spontaneous-sounding 2008 Mudcrutch reunion album; it’s very much a “band” effort, full of blues-based songs that sound like they were born of rehearsal-room jams. The trouble is that at least half the time, Petty and company went too far in that direction, neglecting to flesh out many of the bare-bones tunes. Still, the album’s biggest flaw is that it's too long: 15 songs clocking in at 65 minutes. Chopping off three or four tracks’ worth of deadweight – especially the dreary faux-reggae exercise “Don’t Pull Me Over” – and emphasizing blues-rock barn-burners like “Jefferson Jericho Blues” and “I Should Have Known It” would have served Mojo in good stead. But then, that’s what iPods are for, no?