By Shawn Macomber from Stereogum
You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
Sail away, kill off the hours
You belong somewhere you feel free
The opening verse of the title track from Tom Petty’s 1994 mid-career high-water mark Wildflowers at first blush seems like little more than tattoo bait for young patchouli-spritzed women possessed of a penchant for calligraphy and easy-does-it-empowerment slogans. Listeners who dig deeper into both its songs and churning, drama-filled backstory, however, will quickly realize that, despite the second-person singular, this deliciously eclectic, sprawling fifteen-song rock ’n’ roll epic is the sort of deeply personal, fully actualized declaration of independence one rarely sees from any artist — think Dylan going electric at the Newport ’65 stuffed into a supercollider with Nebraska-era Springsteen, the National Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Byrds.