Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Oh Yes, She's the Great Pretender

There are few as cool, or for that matter, if I may, as hot. And now she is back, finally, with new music.

It may seem like forever since the last Pretender dropped a new record, but that may only be due to your unfamiliarity with the last three Pretenders records.

1999's "Viva el Amor!," 2002's "Loose Screw" and 2008's "Break Up The Concrete," Pretenders records in name only, play some of Hynde's finest songs, with "Concrete" rocking fast, hard and raw. Yet, they came and went like a McLean Stevenson sitcom. Though I bet more people watched "Hello Larry" than heard 2010's "Fidelity," a terrific record under the clumsy JP, Chrissie & the Fairground Boys moniker. So really, Miss Hynde has been making solid music for the last 15 years and still "Stockholm" feels like a comeback.

Chrissie Hynde sounds exactly like Chrissie Hynde on "Stockholm" and this is a good thing. What this new record offers is a little over a half hour of strong, soulful, pop music. Guitars play second fiddle to biggish production reminiscent of those great 80's Brit Pop singles, but warmer, subtler.

The opener is a killer, "You Or No One," a hook-laden ballad with nods to Phil Spector and Dusty Springfield. The single "Dark Sunglasses," only 2 months old, has already gotten better with age. By the time I got to "House Of Cards," eight songs in, I was still listening with enthusiasm, though admittedly, the pacing and tempo does not change very much. Nothing here comes close to rocking like "Tattooed Love Boys," and why should it? That was many moons ago, a much different Chrissie Hynde. But actually, nothing really comes close to rocking as much as even the title track from "Break Up The Concrete." That was only 6 years ago. This is something you will notice. I sure did.

I like "Stockholm." I'm glad it is what it is. I'm just worried it may not have legs.


wardo said...

The only thing of hers post-Packed! that I've listened to more than a few times was Isle Of View. I really should give some of the other albums a chance, but like you said, they're Pretenders in name only.

Shriner said...

"Loose Screw" is so underrated as an album. "I Should Of" is one of those great, great songs from this period with such a great vocal.

Her voice cracking at 2:50 slays me every time...

buzzbabyjesus said...

She's cool, and The Pretenders released a handful of great singles, but that's it for me. This new one doesn't sound promising.


Chrissie did "You Or No One" on Jimmy Fallon last night.


Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for her 2017 album "Punky Grandma!"

Allan R.

Chris Collins said...

somehow there's always a really really good song or two on any Pretenders (or "Pretenders" ) album. I'll give this one a listen

kevin m said...

have always liked chrissie and sal I agree, she is the coolest lady in rock.

Sal - side story; when loose screw was released, I was spending a Saturday afternoon at NYCD. you were behind the counter and when I asked if that was the new pretenders cd you were playing (I didn't know it ws out yet) you nodded your head and then gave me a copy for free. granted I haven't listened to loose screw in years & can't name a song off the album but I clearly remember walking out of the store very happy.