God love Tom Petty. He's created one of the greatest recorded legacies of anyone in the rock music tradition. Even though it hasn't sold much, the title song in particular of his newest album, "The Last DJ" will be considered a classic.
I respectfully suggest that Tom has the wrong idea here, though. This is not a musical argument. It's an outstanding, catchy song. It has a strong emotional content. Structurally and emotionally, the song rings true.
However, Mr. Petty perhaps doesn't quite get the modern world. The point of the song is that it is a elegy for the last independent voice, which is finally being squished by the establishment.
there goes the last dj
who plays what he wants to play
and says what he wants to say
hey, hey, hey
there goes your freedom of choice
there goes the last human voice
there goes the last dj
This does not jibe with my experience, nor that of most Americans, at least. We have more freedom of choice in most things than ever, particularly media.
I for one have never had near the access to more different music than in the last couple of years. The advent of Napster and Kazaa and CD burners give us more choices than ever before, especially in relatively isolated rural areas.
Satellite tv offers us HUNDREDS of choices of programming, not the three networks of my childhood. There's usually something worth watching on cable, if only by accident. Also, satellite and cable tv offer vastly underappreciated music programming, dozens and dozens of channels of all kinds of music -with no damned DJ yammering on or even commercials. Hell, I can listen to commercial free Hawaiian music 24/7 off the satellite.
I know I didn't have anything like this kind of choice when I was in high school 20 odd years ago. The 16 year old AL would have KILLED to have access to music the way I do now. I remember what a big deal it was that the local Danner's department store in Rushville actually stocked an 8-track copy of Sgt. Pepper's. Wow- an album not by Kenny Rogers or the Bee Gees! If you'd told me that I'd be able to sit in my room and conjure up pictures and album titles and reviews, and then just order nearly any commercially available album [or movie] in the world on a credit card for delivery to my door- well, I'd have probably just creamed my jeans.