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ALBUM – Full Moon Fever

ARTIST – Tom Petty

YEAR – 1989

Need I actually write something?  Seriously, I’m kind of proud of myself, with back to back “classics”.  Also, cause it relates to something I mentioned in my previous entry, regarding the sifter and finding brilliant recordings from the 198s – in no way was it a “lost decade”.  Seriously.

This album came at a particular period in my life, way back; I must have been twelve or something.  In any event, me and my best mate at the time used to travel to the Adirondack mountains in the North of New York State (quick correction: it was actually his parent’s cottage, so HE took ME).  That said, on our drive up there and during the time we spent there in the summer, all we listened to, when in the house or car, was Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever.  We did a bit of fishing, camping, trails and what not.  Oh, salamanders; small, red and black salamanders – they were all over the place up there.  And Lipton Ice Tea is all we drank.  What a combination of events.

On to the music.  This album has a couple of memorable tracks, some obvious, some not so much.  As I listen to this, I feel the mood and the circumstances of those warm, mountain air days.  The indisputable song is the first, “Free Fallin'”.  I mean, who is there to argue that this is a monster song, as good as they come and as sticky, too.  You won’t be able to get it out of your head, ever.  There’s a slower song I am fond of, “A Face in the Crowd”.  It’s got a soothing guitar and desert kind of cue.  “You were just, a face in the crowd…  Out in the street, walkin’ around… a face in the crowd”.  For those lesser days.  Or, when you want to just doze off and contemplate and wonder.  Perfect.

My friend’s favourite was “Zombie Zoo”, last track on the album.  It’s now mine. It wasn’t, mind you, but it reminds me of good times and I’ve just gotten to like the hell out of it.  It’s clumsy and fun, great, great tune.  Another gem, and also unquestionable landmark, is “Runnin’ Down a Dream”.  What a cool guitar, edgy.  Hair blowing in the wind, driving way over the speed limit with the top down in some valley or a desert, not a soul around.  That’s how I envision this song.  Really expressive, fast, like it has to get somewhere.

There’s something really unique with my CD.  I got it back then, in 1989.  There were still cassettes around, ok.  Yeah, I’m from back then, when we used to “tape” stuff and make mix “tapes”.  Good times; nothing like today’s downloading mp3s and “burning” them onto a CD.  Whatever.  As I was “saying”, the 6th track “Feel a Whole Lot Better” has a small introduction where Tom suggests we change sides of the cassettes.  It’s funny ’cause you’re listening to a CD and I guess he’s just being silly.  Yeah, laugh away.  Pretty cool, though.  Oh, and the song’s genius, very upbeat, another sticker.

“Yer So Bad”, hymn much???!!!  Spot on.  Shaky guitar and pretty cool lyrics.  I love it.  When you get near the end you’ll realise there’s some “country” elements mixed in – not a bad thing, just saying.  A beautiful melody and very subtle, but effective, vocals, can be found in “Alright for Now” – delicious.  Moving along, then, here it is, finally, the end.  Actually, it’s “Zombie Zoo” (the song before it is also awesome.  I’m sorry, I have to be emphatic or else what I write won’t make any sense, to me and to you, dear reader), and it’s an impeccable choice for closing out an album.  Damn, this song is fun.  The image that comes to mind, always, is an old-time theme park, with Cotton Candy, Ferris wheel and the works.  “Cute little dropout, how come you pack a rod
Is your mother in a clinic? Has your father got no job?  Sometimes you’re so impulsive.  You shaved off all you’re hair.  You look like Boris Karloff and you don’t even care… You’re dancin’ at the zombie zoo…”


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