Sean Daly, Times Pop Music Critic

Sean Daly

Sean Daly is the pop music critic at the Tampa Bay Times. He has also alliterated for the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper and People magazine. An only child growing up outside of Boston, he spent great chunks of his youth sprawled in front of his parents' monolithic hi-fi system/coffee table. (He burned his besotted college years at Syracuse University doing pretty much the same thing.) Is he socially maladjusted? Absolutely. However, his music collection — from Otis Redding to Bob Dylan, Public Enemy to Stan Getz — is much bigger and better than yours. So there.

Phone: (727) 893-8467

Email: sdaly@tampabay.com

Twitter: @SeanDalyPopLife

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  1. REVIEW: High times with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in Tampa

    Blog

    TAMPA — Tom Petty sure wasn't shy about sharing how relaxed he was feeling at his welcome-home gig on Sunday. "Call the babysitter," our Gainesville guy told the sold-out crowd of 13,905 at Amalie Arena (formerly the Tampa Bay Times Forum). "Tell her he's looking kinda high to me, so he might be playing for awhile."

    With half-lidded peepers, a bemused grin and a loping, shambling gait that gave away his seriously good vibes, the 63-year-old ragtag rocker and his venerable Heartbreakers casually, if often quite loudly, chugged through two hours of know-'em-by-hearters and sonically adventurous newbies (including, quite tellingly, U Get Me High) from latest album Hypnotic Eye.

    If you were craving frills — wrong house, fella. Most acts who play this venue at least bring along a video-screen backdrop or even a disco ball to add some semblance of glitz to the proceedings. Petty and his mates hung what appeared to be an oversized bedsheet behind them, the visuals as blurred and color-swirled as — and I'm guessing here — TP's vision.

    While unloading the searing riff from A Woman in Love (It's Not Me), criminally underrated guitarist Mike Campbell looked down at the ground during most of the fretty fireworks, maybe at a monitor, maybe at a football game to keep up with his fantasy scores. Campbell, whom his boss rightfully dubbed "our secret weapon," made the ferocious solo that closes out Runnin' Down a Dream look so effortless, it was downright comical (if also downright AWESOME). The high-ringing tone and mesmerizing tapestry he wrung out of that sucker was worth the ticket price alone....

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform at Amalie Arena on Sunday.
  2. Tom's Top 25: Our ultimate list of Tom Petty songs

    Music & Concerts

    By SEAN DALY | Times Pop Music Critic

    Tom Petty may not call the Sunshine State his home anymore, but you'd better believe the folks who reside in F-L-A still proudly claim the Gainesville rock star as one of our own. • When I recently asked Tampa Bay Times readers via various social media outlets for their favorite Petty songs — with his venerable Heartbreakers or solo or even with those Traveling Wilburys — the fervent response was fast, bountiful and passionate. • Like, really passionate. • I quickly realized that putting together my list of the 25 best Petty cuts of all time — smack-dab in the heart of Florida, a.k.a. Petty Country — was not only going to be tough, it was going to be polarizing, too. In other words: Hate Mail City, baby! • With the 63-year-old Petty bringing the Heartbreakers to Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sunday, I present this "definitive" (or something) best-of list. After I put my 25 together, I noticed I didn't have two fan "requests": Mary Jane's Last Dance (never loved it, although Mike Campbell's riff is slick) and Breakdown (sacrilege, I know, but again, it's never been a go-to for me). But hey, I love these even more. Start bickering, and rocking out, now:...

    Tom Petty has compiled a vast catalog of hits, which means our list of the top 25 may leave a few hearts broken.
  3. 'Frozen' ousts Norway Maelstrom ride at Epcot

    Florida

    It's official and, for Disney purists, a little depressing: A ride based on smash flick Frozen will replace Maelstrom, the begrudgingly beloved boat trek in Epcot's Norway pavilion. No date has been given for closings and openings, but with the tale of Scandinavian sibs Anna and Elsa being such a phenomenon, you better believe the Mouse House is raring to start the overhaul. Opened in 1988, Maelstrom blends hype for the host country — "Those who seek the spirit of Norway face peril and adventure!" — with all manner of trolls, watery drops and that whole backwards-out-the-waterfall fake-out. (For nerds like me, there were also Hidden Mickeys in the queue's Vikings mural.) Details are scant so far, but a Disney muckety said the new attraction will take guests through Arendelle and various scenes from the movie. Oh, I'm sure it will be just dandy — but who's up for one last cruise on the Maelstrom before another part of our childhood gets iced out? — Sean Daly, Times staff writer...

    This undated image released by Disney shows Disney characters Anna, left, and her sister Elsa from the animated film "Frozen" at Princess Fairytale Hall at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Princess Fairytale Hall features walls of stone and stained glass windows, a spacious gallery adorned with portraits of Disney princesses and elegantly finished rooms where guests can meet Anna & Elsa, Cinderella, Rapunzel and other princesses. Wait times to meet the sisters stretches for hours and reservations are snapped up as soon as they become available, part of a frenzy for all things "Frozen."  (AP Photo/Disney, Matt Stroshane)
  4. Six million reasons to go to Fanboy Expo

    Events

    No offense to the record-setting Tampa Bay Comic Con, but as far as pop-culture geekfests are concerned, have you seen the celeb lineup for this weekend's Fanboy Expo? To name a nerd-drool few, Linda Blair (The Exorcist), Scott "Hershel" Wilson (The Walking Dead), Lee Majors (The Six Million Dollar Man, The Fall Guy), Richard "Oscar Goldman" Anderson (The Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman), Drea de Matteo (Sons of Anarchy, The Sopranos), Richard "Jaws" Kiel (The Spy Who Loved Me), Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap), Sandahl Bergman (Conan the Barbarian). Crazy, right? And let me just say, I've interviewed all sorts of famous folks, but if I ever met Lee Majors, I'm fairly certain the braces-wearing preteen tyke in me would burst forth and sob on his mighty shoulder. Which reminds me: I wonder if my mom still has my Six Million Dollar Man doll with the bionic eye (which was greasy and had food stuck in it, but was awesome anyway)? The expo runs 1 to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Hilton Hotel Downtown Tampa, 211 N Tampa St., Tampa. $20, $40 weekend; 10 and younger free. Autographs additional. (865) 280-2023. fanboyexpo.com/tampa....

    Actor Lee Majors starred in the Six Million Dollar Man.
  5. Review: You get what you pay for with free U2 album

    Music & Concerts

    Imagine if Bono threw a surprise party (hooray!) but the fancy three-tiered cake was made of sawdust (oh). That's my downer mood after U2 released new album Songs of Innocence on Tuesday in conjunction with Apple's new-product hullabaloo. I couldn't wait to eat this one up.

    Mouthwash, please.

    Yes, Songs of Innocence — the Dublin Four's first new material in five years — was made FREE to some 500 million iTunes subscribers (until Oct. 13), and that's a novel party favor for sure. If you're an iTunes subscriber, it's already been "purchased" for you; you just have to download it. U2 was reportedly paid $100 million by Apple for the star-studded hype job, so don't go thanking the Edge for his unbridled generosity. And free doesn't always mean good....

    Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, greets Bono from U2 after they performed at the end of the Apple event on Tuesday.
  6. AMC orders spinoff of wobbly 'Walking Dead'

    Blog

    Good news and potentially shaky news here for Zombie Nation: AMC has ordered a 2015 spinoff to apocalyptic smash The Walking Dead, which makes savvy financial sense seeing as how the undead drama is the highest-rated scripted program in the history of basic cable. But the televised travails of Rick Grimes & Co., which fires up Season 5 at 9 p.m. on Oct. 12, has suffered from wobbly storytelling and tonal shifts the past few seasons. Week after week, it's a Walking crapshoot....

  7. Pop superstar Taylor Swift among this year's CMA nominations

    Play

    A week after Taylor Swift said she's now a full-time pop star, Nashville decided to lure the singer back into her country boots for one last yeehaw.

    On Nov. 5, Swift will compete for female vocalist of the year at the 48th annual Country Music Association Awards, nominations for which were announced Wednesday. Swift — who's trumpeting upcoming LP 1989 as an "official" pop switcheroo — will compete against tried-and-true cowgirls Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Kacey Musgraves and Carrie Underwood....

    Luis Santana  |   Times (4/20/2013, Tampa, FL)   Taylor Swift performs to a sold out crowd at the Tampa Bay Times Forum as part of her 2013 Red Tour. [Luis Santana | Times]
  8. Not So Fast, Taylor Swift! CMAs say you're country for one more night

    Blog

    A week after Taylor Swift said she's now a full-time pop star, Nashville decided to lure the singer back into her country boots for one last yeehaw.

    On Nov. 5, Swift will compete for female vocalist of the year at the 48th annual Country Music Association Awards, nominations for which were announced Wednesday. Swift — who's trumpeting upcoming LP 1989 as an "official" pop switcheroo — will compete against tried-and-true cowgirls Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Kacey Musgraves and Carrie Underwood....

  9. Pop superstar Taylor Swift among this year's CMA nominations

    Music & Concerts

    A week after Taylor Swift said she's now a full-time pop star, Nashville decided to lure the singer back into her country boots for one last yeehaw.

    On Nov. 5, Swift will compete for female vocalist of the year at the 48th annual Country Music Association Awards, nominations for which were announced Wednesday. Swift — who's trumpeting upcoming LP 1989 as an "official" pop switcheroo — will compete against tried-and-true cowgirls Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Kacey Musgraves and Carrie Underwood....

    Taylor Swift performs to a sold out crowd at the Tampa Bay Times Forum as part of her 2013 Red Tour.
  10. I wanna play too!! Fallon, Levine duel on musical impressions game

    Blog

    I demand to play the Musical Impressions Generator game with my Tampa Bay Times coworkers! Michelle Stark? Stephanie Hayes? C'mon! Last night on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the affable host battled Maroon 5 hunk Adam Levine in an awesomely entertaining mimicry showdown, including Eddie Vedder warbling The Muffin Man and Bob Dylan rasping out Rude. I do a wicked Rob Thomas/Matchbox Twenty impression. Who wants to take me on???...

  11. Review: 'Somewhere Under Wonderland' a turning point for Counting Crows

    Music & Concerts

    Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz is his own best enemy, forever trapped in a dreadlocked head that issues inspiration and frustration in equal, unpredictable bursts. It's not easy being him; it's not all that easy being a fan, either.

    After '90s LPs August and Everything After and Recovering the Satellites — modern-classic chronicles of love and longing, stunning promises of a special career blooming — the roots-rocking Crows have been at the mercy of Duritz's diminishing skills. Ensuing albums were increasingly diluted, unfocused, soon to be dusty at the bottom of your CD stack. Our Man of Eternal Pining, the former future Bob Dylan (or so he yelped on breakout hit Mr. Jones), went dark, forgotten, gone. ...

  12. Chase your dreams! Take a chance! Oh, enough with the 'inspirational' posts

    Pop Culture

    The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.

    There are two types of pains: One that hurts you and the other that changes you.

    Sometimes you fall down because there is something down there you are supposed to find.

    Oh, shut up already.

    Inspirational quotes, daily affirmations, bootstrap devotionals: As if selfies and cat pictures and constant pleas to dump buckets of ice water over your head weren't annoying enough, uplifting messages are now glutting social media like never before....

  13. Review: Ariana Grande's 'My Everything' likable but beige

    Play

    Ariana Grande is polite in lieu of provocative, a reigning pop princess with scant interest in pushing buttons a la the Mileys and Nickis around her.

    In the panache department, the hottest thing in Top 40 these days is benign at best, beige all the way. Even her Nickelodeon persona, the bubble-headed Cat on sitcom Victorious and spinoff Sam & Cat, was devoid of personality. She spoke in breathy non sequiturs and ditzy surrealities....

    Ariana Grande performs at the MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Inglewood, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP) CARR138
  14. Review: Ariana Grande's 'My Everything' likable but tame

    Music & Concerts

    Ariana Grande is polite in lieu of provocative, a reigning pop princess with scant interest in pushing buttons a la the Mileys and Nickis around her.

    In the panache department, the hottest thing in Top 40 these days is benign at best, beige all the way. Even her Nickelodeon persona, the bubble-headed Cat on sitcom Victorious and spinoff Sam & Cat, was devoid of personality. She spoke in breathy non sequiturs and ditzy surrealities....

    Ariana Grande, shown performing Sunday at the MTV Video Music Awards, seems comfy playing the wailing good-girl wallflower next to the party stars on her new album.
  15. Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off' shakes up pop world (w/video)

    Music & Concerts

    Taylor Swift, she of the saucer-eyed surprise face and cutthroat business acumen, rah-rahed back into our lives Tuesday with Shake It Off, a single from her upcoming "first documented official pop album."

    The new LP will be titled 1989 (psst: the year she was born) and releases Oct. 27.

    The "official" pop switcheroo is mainly hype; 2012 album Red wasn't exactly Loretta Lynn. Swift has been pretty poppy for a while. But by consciously uncoupling from her Nashville beginnings, the 24-year-old pride of Wyomissing, Pa., at least quiets those nagging folks who still bother debating what genre she is. Heck, at this point she transcends genre....

    Photo by Brian Doben