Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' upcoming album, Hypnotic Eye, finds Petty offering his two cents on a number of topical subjects. The 63-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer recently shared some details about his latest songs in a Q&A with Billboard.
One new track, titled "Playing Dumb," which only is available as a bonus song on the vinyl edition of Hypnotic Eye, focuses on the sex abuse scandal in which the Catholic Church has been embroiled. Petty says he has nothing against Catholics, but he apparently takes issue with people who continue to support the church hierarchy in the wake of the way it's handled the many instances of abuse.
"I'm fine with whatever religion you want to have," he maintains, while noting, "If I was in a club, and I found out that there had been generations of people abusing children, and then that club was covering that up, I would quit the club. And I wouldn't give them any more money."
Petty also tells Billboard that on Hypnotic Eye, he critiques the greed displayed by politicians who support the extremely wealthy to the detriment of the lower classes. "Very few people know how to handle power and once they just become completely immoral, they're dangerous people," Petty explains. "That attitude is what, to me, wipes out the middle class."
In addition to songs about contemporary issues, Hypnotic Eye also includes a tune that was inspired by a harrowing personal incident in Tom's life: the second of two fires that destroyed homes in which he lived. The song "All You Can Carry" specifically is about how he carried a Hofner bass that he owned to safety as the house burned.
"I grabbed that and went, 'Hell, is this going to happen to me twice in my life where everything I own is just wiped out?'" he tells Billboard. "And then I thought, 'Well, I'm OK with that.' Because things come back, but people don't."
Hypnotic Eye hits stores on July 29.
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