Angel Dream: Songs and Music From the Motion Picture "She's the One"

Tom Petty / Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

(Digital Download - Warner Records #)

Review by Tim Sendra

After releasing his second solo album, Wildflowers, Tom Petty did the requisite touring and promotion, then pondered what to do next. The answer came as an offer from filmmaker Edward Burns, who asked if Petty would contribute music for his movie She's the One. The result was Songs and Music from "She's the One," a record that was a mishmash of tunes recorded for Wildflowers that didn't make the grade, covers of Beck ("Asshole") and Lucinda Williams ("Change the Locks") songs, instrumental interludes, surf rock rave-ups, and a handful of strong new tracks like the gritty "Climb That Hill" and the very poppy "Walls" -- which wasn't surprising considering the roll Petty was on at the time. Petty and many others dismissed the album as a throwaway, but it certainly has its selling points. Fast-forward many years, and when Petty and producer Ryan Ulyate were looking at a Wildflowers reissue, they pulled the songs from She's the One to create the double album it should have been. They also decided at some point to reissue the soundtrack as its own album, minus those Wildflowers tracks.

Titled Angel Dream, the 2021 reissue subtracts a handful of songs, adds some unreleased rarities, and in the process loses almost all the charm of the original album. Not only are the best tracks taken away ("California," "Hope You Never," the Buddy Holly-with-strings version of "Angel Dream," and the breathtaking ballad "Hung Up and Overdue"), the instrumentals have been scrubbed, and the unreleased tracks they've added aren't all that strong. The take of J.J. Cale's "Thirteen Days" is the best, telling a grubby tale of life on the road in happily dissipated style, but the jokey "One of Life's Little Mysteries" is not one of Petty's finest moments, "105 Degrees" is a blues-rock throwaway, and the extended version of "Supernatural Radio" adds nothing of interest to the song. (The only rarity that works is "French Disconnection," a soundtrack-like instrumental version of "Angel Dream" that really should have been on She's the One.) Even worse than these subpar inclusions is the fact that the magical version of "Walls" with Lindsey Buckingham on vocals isn't here. At least the other songs ended up on the expanded Wildflowers; this one has just vanished. It's hard to understand why they didn't just reissue a remastered, slightly expanded version of the original album, especially since the takes of the songs used on Wildflowers are different, which means the original takes and mixes are missing in action. It's clear that Petty wanted to reclaim She's the One and turn it into a true Heartbreakers album instead of a jumble sale collection, it's just too bad that he and Ulyate fumbled the task so painfully. Better to stick with the original album than replace it with this edition.

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