Tom Petty has spent the better part of his career battling for lower ticket prices, voicing his disappointment with the corporately controlled music industry, and calling for a return to the ìgood old daysî of rock & roll. With The Last DJ, Petty hammers those anti-industry ideals home the best way he knows how ñ with his music. The majority of the songs on the album (it actually seems like all of them) deal with these issues and itís clear that by this point in his long career, Petty is not about to pull any punches. He very blatantly attacks the music industry in three of the albumís first four tracks, ìThe Last DJ,î ìMoney Becomes King,î and ìJoe,î with the fourth, ìDreamvilleî recalling the (here we go again) ìgood old daysî. Other contemporary topics are also discussed in Pettyís narrative songwriting as well, such as violence amongst kids (ìWhen A Kid Goes Badî), poverty (ìLost Childrenî) infidelity (ìThe Man Who Loves Womenî) and even love (ìHave Love Will Travel,î ìYou And Meî). He then wraps things up with ìCanít Stop The Sun,î a song comparing the anti-corporate music movement with the unstoppable force of the Sun itself.
The best part about the album is that Petty wraps all of his hard feelings and negative modern day observations in some really solid songs. In fact, the album finds both The Heartbreakers and Petty at the top of their collective game musically. The band is tight, the lyrics are very good, and Pettyís voice sounds great. These aging rockers gave this album everything they had, and for the most part, they are dead on with their criticisms.
In ìJoe,î Petty sings:
ìBring me a girl / theyíre always the best / you put ëem on stage / and you have ëem undress / some angel whore / who can learn a guitar lick / hey, thatís what I call music.î
Now seriously, we can all think of at least two people who fit that description without even trying. However, at times, Petty comes off more jaded than revolutionary and more angry than honest. On many different levels, The Last DJ is definitely an album worth listening to.