• Record Label: American
  • Release Date: Jul 25, 2006
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Entertainment Weekly
    91
    A huge improvement on 2002's [The Last DJ]... a true return to form. [4 Aug 2006, p.67]
  2. It's an extended salute to killing time, telling stories, swapping jokes, and singing along to the radio. An album title has rarely been more apt.
  3. If [Petty]'s third solo album proves to be his last, he has delivered one of rock's most eloquent goodbyes.
  4. These 12 often-elegiac tracks are machine-shop sleek, effortlessly buffed to a precision gloss that buoys Petty's irresistible harmonies and layered compositions.
  5. Uncut
    80
    [An] instant classic. [Sep 2006, p.84]
  6. Q Magazine
    80
    Yet however familiar its themes may be, they all seem reinvigorated... by Petty's songwriting smarts and fantastically weathered vocals. [Sep 2006, p.110]
  7. Mojo
    80
    Highway Companion abounds with Dylanesque first-, second- and third-person stories of rolling stones with no direction home, and how wear and tear is grinding them to a halt. [Sep 2006, p.90]
  8. Los Angeles Times
    75
    It's... a more writerly exercise than typical of his concise and straightforward Heartbreakers hits. [23 Jul 2006]
  9. Think of it as rock-and-roll comfort food.
  10. A satisfyingly straightforward collection.
  11. At its core, it's moodier than most of his records.
  12. The album runs out of gas a bit toward the end, with a few too many songs in a row stuck in a midtempo Neil Young-ish lope. But for most of the ride, Highway Companion is worth the trip.
  13. New Musical Express (NME)
    70
    Contains... some of his finest ever songs. [5 Aug 2006, p.29]
  14. Highway Companion contains the most clear-eyed and hopeful songs that Petty has written in memory.
  15. The album's bluesy Americana-inspired tunes like "Saving Grace" and "Turn This Car Around" are, sure, kind of predictable, but they make up for that by being pretty darn good songs.
  16. Blender
    60
    Petty, never good at deep thinking, tries to introduce some grand gestures and literary flourishes, but they're forced compared with his amiably corny odes to driving and boozing. [Sep 2006, p.147]
  17. The New York Times
    50
    For about half of “Highway Companion” Mr. Petty’s reticence opens the songs to a sense of mystery. For the rest, he just sounds reserved and cagey, singing about restlessness but sounding all too settled. [24 Jul 2006]
  18. This rarely works as the heart-heavy traveling music Petty has in mind; while he flees or revisits dark corners in every song, Petty sings like he has nothing at stake.
  19. So why is his new album so underwhelming? Because Petty has gotten away from his strength--whipping pop hooks into an emotional frenzy of harmonies--and has focused on his weakness: overly ambitious lyrics.
  20. Spin
    40
    Moodier moments respectably imitate Dylan and Neil Young, but often fall asleep at the wheel. [Sep 2006, p.110]
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 28 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. NateK
    Jan 27, 2009
    10
    While I rank this 4th best in Petty's catalogue, with or without the Heartbreakers, Highway Companion is a lyrical masterpiece. While I rank this 4th best in Petty's catalogue, with or without the Heartbreakers, Highway Companion is a lyrical masterpiece. It's almost Dylan-calibre, but without ever being self-conscious of it; in the end, it's all Petty. The predictable Jeff Lynne production, while leaving some to be desired in musical creativity, actually works to focus our attention to the lyrics in many very subtle ways (the use of electric piano on "Night Driver", the vibraphone on the waltz, "The Golden Rose"). The album's grooves unapologetically borrow from many (Dylan, Young, but especially George Harrison), but through the course of Petty's war-weary yet crisp voice--on top of his incredible round-a-bout tales of displacement, lack of closure, and coming to terms with it all--we soon realize we're not looking for anything new; we're coming home full circle. Full Review »
  2. jyotirmayad
    Nov 12, 2006
    8
    I have never bought a Tom petty album before but this one will have me going through his back catalogue to see what else I have been missing. I have never bought a Tom petty album before but this one will have me going through his back catalogue to see what else I have been missing. A solid effort with great melodies and lyrics. Full Review »
  3. DougC
    Oct 23, 2006
    7
    Spare in production. Strong in lyrical impact. The more I listened, the more I liked it.