Shit, shit, that is such a great cover of “Free Fallin'” that I posted earlier. I’ve seen a million covers of that song before and after Tom Petty died and none of them are all that good.
Most of them are terrible because the singers don’t know what the hell the song means. It just sounds pretty to them, so they sing it that way. But Grace G. knows what the lyrics mean. Maybe one of those bad boys has broken her heart, too.
The song is, of course, about the narrator treating a girl like trash, at first even lightly mocking her for her essential conformity and naïveté, then gradually realizing he’d made a mistake by treating her so terribly.
The first chorus of “free fallin'” connotes that the narrator feels freedom in the sense of he’s free of obligation, of responsibility — he’s used a woman for his own purposes and now he’s free of her, doesn’t even miss her, and though he refers himself as a “bad boy,” it’s not serious. It’s like calling someone a “baaad man.”
But that changes in the next part of the song.
In some of the best lyrics of any song ever written, the great line “All the vampires walking through the valley \ Move west down Ventura Boulevard” is where the narrator starts referring to himself as one of the vampires.
Then the bridge, which changes the tone of the song completely.
The narrator then tells us, “I’m going to write her name in the sky” in an attempt to rectify his mistake of hurting the girl by discarding her, breaking her heart. This is where the “free fallin'” changes meaning in an obvious way. “Free fallin'” that is into nothing, as the narrator states. He wants to write her name in the sky to tell her he’s made an irredeemable mistake and now he’s falling into the oblivion of his own errors of judgement.
But it’s too late, and the narrator knows it. Grace does, too.