Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers* ‎– Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)

MCA Records ‎– MCA-5836
Vinyl, LP, Album


Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode (Scanned): 076732583616
  • Barcode (Text): 0 76732-5836 1 6


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December 26, 2018

It’s quite impossible to begin talking about this release without referencing one of the most uncomfortable album covers that ever existed, and then go onto think about the photographer needing to ask each member of the band to scream in front of the camera in order to create this uninspired feature.

As with Southern Accents, Let Me Up is another concept of sorts, beginning with the idea of making a studio album with all of the power and energy of a live show. No doubt Tom was intent on making a stand and proving a point, as he’d recently returned to playing after smashing his hand into a wall and then being told he probably won’t ever play the guitar again … so it’s very much an album about survival on both a personal scale, and in the world in a larger sense. The song “Let Me Up” begins as full tilt rocker, embracing the emotional disconnect of a man attempting to understand his place in a world of disinformation, Iranian torture, stupid movies, failed relationships, money secretly shifting hands and a general sense of pervasive dishonesty (flash forward to 2061, and the album’s a bit prophetic). This sense of paranoia and alarm only increases on “The Damage You’ve Done,” with these elements waxing and waining throughout the rest of the release … with the suitable tattoo quote being ”It never does go away, but it all works out;” though in reality, who knows what that means, other than more of the same that we always seem to get used to.

Let Me Up descends into the diabolical evil darkness that defined the 1980’s, an uncomfortable album that still to this day bestows those attitudes of alarm and warning. Without a doubt “Jammin’ Me” is the best song from the album, meaning yet again, as on Southern Accents, the Heartbreakers are now taking the path of Mr. Dylan, doling out but one super song per album; though whether this is out of fear of having no material, or just the lack of inspiration is the sixty-four thousand dollar question. Make no mistake about it, compete with screaming synth intros, the album is very scattered, lacking direction and focus, an album filled with its own up and down mood swings, though in the end, did these ups and downs give listeners a reason to weather either of those psychotic elements and leave them with a reason to listen to the record to begin with.

I so want to have something good to say here, though any aspects of graciousness are eluding me, where the album is maddeningly frustrating from beginning to end, riddled with flaws, halfhearted attempts at something more grand, yet with the manic obsolete keyboards (it was a keyboard centered album) of Benmont Tench, the records sounds trashily dated, where teenagers hide in the arms of each other during a thriller suspense movie on a sugar high. Yes, it’s a woefully under appreciated album for a reason, and no tricks of the studio or trade can bring this muddied apathetic album in from the cold. This was perhaps the first time I faced the idea that Tom Petty with the Heartbreakers was a single’s band, that there was no rhyme or reason for me to be playing entire albums, that collecting the songs that rode best with me onto cassette tape was more than worthwhile.

Oddly enough, it was just the year before that Tom Petty released his brilliant solo Highway Companion, leading me to wonder what it was about the Heartbreakers that wasn’t clicking anymore, where Mike Campbell would be doing most of the writing, while Tom lingered in the background. I’m sure there are many who will and do enjoy this album, and to those my hat’s off to you. No doubt this release will one day be seen as an undiscovered gem of enlightenment empowered with wisdom, though having lived through those times, and this record, I doubt that I will be among the converted.

Review by Jenell Kesler


September 4, 2017
Have to agree with anothermansvinyl's assessment... "Petty and THB's LMU album... Folk Rock?!?".... "Huuuuuhhhh"