Freedom flashing with Tom Petty

On “First Flash of Freedom,” the first of two download tracks released to fans who bought tickets for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ latest tour, the band indulges itself for a minute and a quarter before Petty pipes in with the opening lyrics.

“On our first flash of freedom
I called out your name
love it is hard like an overdue train
we felt so much more than our hearts could explain”

Now, compare those lines with the opening lines sung by Jim Morrison in The Doors’ “Waiting for the Sun.” I have taken the liberty to bold the identical words.

“At first flash of Eden, we race down to the sea
standing there on Freedom‘s Shore
waiting for the sun”

Is this a coincidence?

Could Petty and Mike Cambell, the song’s composers, be paying homage to the great Doors anthem?

Morrison asks, “Can you feel it now that spring has come? And it’s time to live in the scattered sun…” while Petty is more interested in “A fistful of glory; a suitcase of sin / The rain which you dream in / When you count to ten.”

“First Flash of Freedom” clocks in at almost seven minutes, and being the first cut of the Heartbreakers’ new record that was released, it was a clear sign to fans and the critics that their new album Mojo is an exercise in self-indulgence and a good study of several jam genres.

On “Don’t Pull Me Over,” what some critics have called a cheesy Rastafarian ripoff, Petty actually sings “(it) should be legalized.”

“When the moonlight turns to blue light
makes me so afraid
let me go, leave me alone
until I’m warm and safe”

Sure — it’s cheesy, but you’ll be rockin’ your head at the riff at the concert.

And “Candy?” I think it’s a track written with the sole purpose of allowing Petty to flex his drawl, and sing about “turnip greens” — previously uncharted territory for Petty and his southern jam band — which he pronounces “toynup grayns.”

Mojo wasn’t penned for the radio — it was penned for the road, for a summer tour that stops in Houston in September. It was supposed to stop here in May, in The Woodlands, but the record wasn’t released on time which pushed back several tour dates and which means that the Houston audience gets to see ZZ-Top open instead of previously scheduled Joe Crocker.

Mojo was released June 15, and it’s the band’s first album in 8 years since 2002’s The Last DJ.

He puts the best song he’s penned since “Square One,” from his 2006 solo effort Highway Companion, in the second-to-last spot on the record. “Something Good Coming” will strike a nerve.

“And I’m an honest man
work’s all I know
you take that away
don’t know where to go

and I know that look that’s on your face
there’s somethin’ lucky about this place
there’s somethin’ good comin’
for you and me
somethin’ good comin’
there has to be”

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