Straight Into Darkness | By Megan Volpert
Straight Into Darkness: One Tom Petty Redemption Song
Of all the Heartbreakers tracks available to come through her headphones as Megan Volpert stood over train tracks preparing to surrender to the psychedelic blindness of simple human misery, “Straight Into Darkness” is the one that did. In this highly philosophical and deeply personal exploration of one obscure Tom Petty song, Volpert’s essays comb through the musical, historical, rhetorical and sociological implications of a forgotten gem in a legendary c atalog with satisfying results.
In the face of powerlessness, we rebel anyway. She judges the forty years of Petty’s career with one finger on the pulse of Bob Dylan and an occasional whiff of Bruce Springsteen, looking at the sometimes violent mob scene of concerts as a type of transcendence. Straight Into Darkness offers a compelling vision of rock and roll fandom where the songwriter’s hardworking sense of humor is enough to save us from absurdity. All you need is Albert Camus and a couple of chords. Long after dark, Petty and Volpert each emerge as modern mystics.