Sound — 9
Wildflowers, Tom's 2nd solo album was a change in direction from his previous "catchy pop radio hit era" working with Wilbury Jeff Lynne. Here he makes his transition from rock and pop star to Tom Petty, the mature, wise and brilliant emotion stirer. Tom gets really personal on this album and it is produced with a more clean acoustic and rock sound than the previous sonics of Lynne, that drum and bass sound that is relatively dated now. Production is stripped to the best elements of rock and roll, no gimmicks, just music from the heart.
Lyrics — 9
Tom has been a master writer from day one. His ability to connect and involve his listeners with the song is amazing. The lyrics here are personal, somewhat an account of his mid life crisis. The music reflects this aspect. Tom sings beautifully on this record, no nasal whining or screaming to be heard here. He brings out his seldom used Lennonesque voice on "Dont Be Afraid" and his familiar Southern Drawl is frequent. It is probably one of his best outings as a vocalist.
Overall Impression — 9
Tom is in an elite catagory of artistary in my opinion. This album maintains his freakish consistency. It is also one of the better rock albums of the mid '90s. I love everything about it, the fact that any song could have been a hit single on it's own, each song is great, each song is from the heart. It was only fitting that this album won Tom several accolades including Grammy Nominations, awards and a few modest hit single and MTV male video of the year. I like the rockers just as much as the reflective acoustic songs. I would buy this album if I lost it 3 times in a week, its that good.