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Damn the Torpedos [Deluxe Edition]

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Review

Not long after You're Gonna Get It, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' label, Shelter, was sold to MCA Records. Petty struggled to free himself from the major label, eventually sending himself into bankruptcy. He settled with MCA and set to work on his third album, digging out some old Mudcrutch numbers and quickly writing new songs. Amazingly, through all the frustration and anguish, Petty & the Heartbreakers delivered their breakthrough and arguably their masterpiece with Damn the Torpedoes. Musically, it follows through on the promise of their first two albums, offering a tough, streamlined fusion of the Stones and Byrds that, thanks to Jimmy Iovine' s clean production, sounded utterly modern yet timeless. It helped that the Heartbreakers had turned into a tighter, muscular outfit, reminiscent of, well, the Stones in their prime -- all of the parts combine into a powerful, distinctive sound capable of all sorts of subtle variations. Their musical suppleness helps bring out the soul in Petty's impressive set of songs. He had written a few classics before -- "American Girl," "Listen to Her Heart" -- but here his songwriting truly blossoms. Most of the songs have a deep melancholy undercurrent -- the tough "Here Comes My Girl" and "Even the Losers" have tender hearts; the infectious "Don't Do Me Like That" masks a painful relationship; "Refugee" is a scornful, blistering rocker; "Louisiana Rain" is a tear-jerking ballad. Yet there are purpose and passion behind the performances that makes Damn the Torpedoes an invigorating listen all the same. Few mainstream rock albums of the late '70s and early '80s were quite as strong as this, and it still stands as one of the great records of the album rock era. [Universal’s 2010 Deluxe Edition of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ breakthrough 1979 album Damn the Torpedoes adds a full disc of rarities to a nicely remastered version of the original LP. This second disc doesn’t serve up many unreleased songs -- there’s the quite nice “Nowhere,” a solid pop song that does feel like an outtake compared to what made it to the finished album; “Surrender,” which popped up as a bonus track on 2000’s Anthology; “It’s Rainin’ Again,” which showed up on the 1995 box set -- but the quality of cuts here is quite strong, particularly the live recordings taken from a March 1980 performance at the Hammersmith Odeon, highlighted by a barnstorming cover of Eddie Cochran’s “Somethin' Else.” Add to these rarities the cool grooving B-side “Casa Dega” and its accompanying affecting demo and a spare alternate take of “Refugee” and this is an entertaining collection of odds and ends that’s a nice addition to a classic album.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Refugee Tom Petty 3:19
  3. 2 Here Comes My Girl Tom Petty 4:22
  4. 3 Even the Losers Tom Petty 3:54
  5. 4 Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid) Tom Petty 4:22
  6. 5 Century City Tom Petty 3:42
  7. 6 Don't Do Me Like That Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers 2:39
  8. 7 You Tell Me Tom Petty 4:28
  9. 8 What Are You Doin' in My Life? Tom Petty 3:22
  10. 9 Louisiana Rain Tom Petty 5:49
  11. 1 Nowhere Tom Petty 3:37
  12. 2 Surrender Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers 3:24
  13. 3 Casa Dega Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers 3:31
  14. 4 It's Rainin' Again Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers 1:27
  15. 5 Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid) Tom Petty 4:42
  16. 6 Don't Do Me Like That Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers 2:50
  17. 7 Somethin' Else Tom Petty 2:26
  18. 8 Casa Dega [Demo] Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers 3:31
  19. 9 Refugee [Alternate Take] Tom Petty 4:27

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