Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
didn't really knock out their second album -- it was released two years after their debut -- but it sure sounds as if they did. There are some wonderful moments on this record, but it often feels like leftovers from a strong debut, or an album written on the road, especially since the music is simply an extension of the first album. That said, when You're Gonna Get It!
works, it devastates. That's not saying that "When the Time Comes" is a masterpiece, even if it's a fine opener, but it does mean that "I Need to Know" and the scathing "Listen to Her Heart" are testaments to how good this band could be when it was focused. If the rest of the album doesn't achieve this level of perfection, that's a signal that they were still finding their footing, but overall it's still a solid record, filled with good performances that are never quite as good as the songs. It's pretty good as it spins, but once it finishes, you remember those two songs at the heart of the record, maybe the opener and closer, which are stronger than the rest of the competent, enjoyable, yet unremarkable roots-rockers that surround them. Not necessarily a transitional effort -- after all, it pretty much mirrors its predecessor -- but a holding pattern that may not suggest the peaks of what's to come, but still delivers a good soundalike of the debut.