A great song off of Tom Petty's 1989 "solo" project, Full Moon Fever.
It's about California in the late 80s. It's about breaking up with a girl for no good reason. It's about love turning a guy who used to be a dirtbag into a confused dirtbag. The repetition of the "good girls/bad boys" theme in each verse, along with the pointed alliteration, makes the simple lyrics have a mantra-like significance.

The straight rhythm and the grinding tone in the guitar solo calls up images of a flashy car that used to be sexy but is now blue collar. Like everything else in the late 1980s, you can see grunge coming a mile away... in hindsight. This song is one of the last classic rock ballads--lyrics that would be at home in a folk tune if not for the hip yuppie mall references, guitar licks that would be at home in a quieter, more mature hair band if Tom Petty had ever heard of hairspray.


She's a good girl: loves her mama,
loves Jesus, and America too.
She's a good girl: crazy 'bout Elvis
loves horses, and her boyfriend too.

It's a long day, living in Reseda.
There's a freeway runnin' through the yard,
and I'm a bad boy, 'cause I don't even miss her.
I'm a bad boy, for breakin' her heart.

And I'm free...
I'm free fallin'.

All the vampires walkin' through The Valley
move west down Ventura Boulevard.
And all the bad boys are standin' in the shadows,
And the good girls are home with broken hearts.

And I'm free...
I'm free fallin'.

I wanna glide down over Mulholland.
I wanna write her name in the sky.
I wanna free fall out into nothin'.
I wanna leave this world for a while.

And I'm free...
I'm free fallin'.

--Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne

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