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Mojo

4.2 out of 5 stars 262 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 15, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Some time in the last few years Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers took a left turn. Maybe it was when Petty woke up in the night with the idea of reuniting his first band, Mudcrutch, to cut the album they never got a chance to make back in the early 70's. Maybe it was when the Heartbreakers assembled the mammoth multi-disc 'The Live Anthology,' which detailed thirty years of concerts. Maybe it was when they gave all their home movies, outtakes and live footage to director Peter Bogdanovich to create the Grammy-winning four-hour career documentary 'Runnin Down A Dream.' There have been side projects and experiments since the band last went into the studio to cut a new Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers album.
With 'MOJO,' they have taken their recent freedom and experimentation to heart. They have gone off the reservation and all signs indicate they aren't coming back.

The first thing that hits you about 'MOJO' is that the spirit of the Mudcrutch sessions has carried on with the Heartbreakers. This is the sound of a band playing together in a room not a studio - facing each other, all singing and playing at the same time. The music is alive, with no overdubs or studio trickery. What you hear is what they created on the spot at that time.

Tom Petty says, 'With this album, I want to show other people what I hear with the band. 'MOJO' is where the band lives when it's playing for itself.'

As for the songs, 'MOJO' showcases a wide variety of American music from rock 'n' roll to country and both electric and acoustic blues. And then there are the images in Petty's lyrics which slip in on the melodies and set up a home in your head: The barefoot girl in the high grass chewing on a stick of sugar cane, the run-in with the law that begins when a carload of buddies decide to party with the motel maids, and the hilariously audacious idea of opening an album with an electric blues rocker about Thomas Jefferson's love affair with Sally Hemings. Petty would probably chuck a rock at anyone who called him a poet, but he sure is a southern writer of humor and sensitivity.

'MOJO' has juice and guts but it also has some sweet balladry for the slow dancers and even a wacked-out reggae number that is unlike anything that the Heartbreakers have done before. It's the kind of album nobody's supposed to be able to make anymore. It got here just in time.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 15, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Reprise / Wea
  • ASIN: B003A4IFGY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (262 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,694 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The Heartbreakers have evolved distinctly throughout their 30+ years of recording together. Listening to their catalog from the beginning to the present, one travels from an era of short, punchy garage-rock tunes in the 1970s, to the laid-back pop hits of the Jeff Lynne era, to their current period of meditative rock planted firmly in the band's primordial roots.

It's a natural progression, what with Petty's lament of modern music with the Last DJ in 2002, his efforts to keep '60s and '70s-era classic rock alive through his Buried Treasure radio show, the success of last year's Live Anthology, and a rapidly decentralizing music industry that's no longer ruled by the gatekeepers of Top 40 radio. It almost seems that Mojo just... had to be.

If Mudcrutch was Petty's country album, Mojo is his foray into blues recording (sprinkled with a little psychedelia and reggae to taste). Like Mudcrutch, Mojo is freewheeling, high-energy, and upbeat, and prone to a little jam session here and there -- which would have been unthinkable in the days of the neatly-trimmed Full Moon Fever or Into the Great Wide Open. Without a single bad song in the mix, Mojo is a cohesive album you can listen to from beginning to end.

Personally, I am digging latter-day Tom Petty. The band is as good as they've ever been, and each member seems to have increasing freedom to showcase their immense instrumental talents and unrivaled ability to complement one another. Mike Campbell's guitar is on fire through the whole album, and Scott Thurston breaks out of his shell with fine blues harmonica on several tracks.

As a departure from the past musical stylings that made the band successful, Mojo will certainly raise some eyebrows and not be to everyone's liking.
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Format: Audio CD
64 minutes in length approximately. The sound is clean with a slight blending ("bleeding") of instruments that's one of the trademarks of musicians playing together in one room. The disc is slipped in,bare,inside the cardboard fold-out holder,which,inside,has a posed,b&w photograph of the group in the studio. The booklet contains the lyrics to each song,along with recording dates. There are b&w photos of the group throughout the booklet.

That subtle feeling of recording together is Petty's (and the band's) nod to recordings done "in the old days",when there was a certain sound and feel to rock 'n' roll albums. This is another indication (another being the live set released a while back) of Petty's mind set of late-straightforward,honest music,played by a band who know their way around. At this stage in Petty's (and the bands)career,it would be easy to try and sound "contemporary",or worse,simply rely on past glories. Instead they have produced an honest collection of real music. Sitting across from each other seems to have invigorated the band into playing some of their finest music yet,especially guitarist Mike Campbell.

This album is full of r&r,blues,country,and anything else (the reggae feel of "Don't Pull Me Over") they feel like playing-all with that Petty/Heartbreakers sound. There's even a jazzy walking-bass line underneath the opening guitar salvo,on "First Flash of Freedom",which,throughout,very subtly anchors and carries this song. This track also has the sound and feel (especially the vocals) of Petty's solo album "Highway Companion",and would fit snugly in that album. The album is a good balance of up tempo songs ("Candy") and slower ballads ("The Trip to Pirate's Cove") that together paint a true picture of this band.
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Format: Audio CD
We've all been there with a rock 'n roll act past their prime. They release a "blues" album. And it's OK. There are like 3 catchy songs and 8-10 mediocre songs. So when I heard Mojo was coming and it was "bluesy" with a "reggae" track my heart sank a little. Here we go again...

Well, I'm happy to say there is not that album. The songs are wonderful. This is easily Petty's best effort since Wildflowers. Yes, there is a definite blues influence but it still sounds like a Heartbreaker's album, too. The playing is top-notch. These songs sound great. Stuff I didn't even initially like (First Flash of Freedom) now sounds like it belongs in permanent rotation on the iPod. This is really good stuff.

On a more curious note, I have a playlist on my iPod called "new stuff" that basically has everything downloaded to the iPod in the last 30 days and today it had the Stone's Exile on Main Street and this album in it. The two really complemented each other very well as I listened to it. I never thought of the Stones as a big Petty influence but it is definitely there on Mojo. This may be the first album I spring for the Blu-Ray version. This band really sounds fantastic on this album.
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Format: Blu-ray Audio Verified Purchase
First of all the music is great. Mike Campbell's guitar playing really stands out throughout the whole disc. He's normally somewhat buried in the mix on Petty albums but not this time. My wife and I both sat listening to this on a very good deftech surround system and between songs we both kept commenting how great the music sounded. The surround mix is pretty transparent, you know it's there but it never jumps out from behind you. Maybe a little too transparent for my tastes but still well done. The bluray sound quality is excellent too. I also own the Neil Young Archives on bluray and was very disappointed in the lack of surround. And like the Neil Young bluray you can download all the songs for free and in several different high quality formats. I own well over 100 surround SACD and DVD Audio discs and was extremely disappointed when the record labels abandoned the formats. So I'm very thankful to Tom Petty for this release and hope more artists follow his lead.
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