Eddie Vedder Creates Petty Vibe: Beautiful and Still His Own

The single “Long Way” from Eddie Vedder is a straight up, no apologies, dig it and turn it up Tom Petty piece. Beautiful moments include echoes of “Free Fallin'”, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”, maybe a little of “Learning to Fly”, some great, just audible majestic strings, plus a muscled ending that reclaims the song for Vedder’s own.

I don’t know if Eddie was trying to sound like Petty. He had to know, though, right? And once he knew, did he just dive in and throw his artistry at making something that sounds more like Petty – without pandering – than anything anyone created since Petty’s death in 2017.

The chorus is such a throwback to Tom’s ability to layer voices and hold notes that when Vedder sings “…took the looooooooong waaaaaay. On the freeeeeeewaaaaay…”, you hear songs like “Free Fallin'” and “The Waiting.” Two guitar solos in the middle – one delicate and the second, slammed up against the first, is a Mike Campbell-esque piece of rough and tumble joy that propels the back half of the song to become something grittier and deeper.

And that’s deep enough for now. Listen yourself. Make the comparisons. Find those strings that swell in the run up to the final minute where Eddie grabs the song back from Petty and owns it. The song is ear candy. It is a radio song. There should always be one song like this that is floating around – a song that evokes what we loved about Petty. His phrasing. His weedy vibe. The rock and roll machine that was the Heartbreakers. Right now, the song and the moment is from Eddie Vedder. And he’s set that bar high for the next person.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s