Pretenders – Pretenders

ARTIST: Pretenders 220px-Pretenders_album
TITLE: Pretenders
YEAR RELEASED: 1980
CHART ACTION: #9 US, #1 UK
SINGLES: Stop Your Sobbing (#34 UK, #65 US), Kid (#33 UK), Brass in Pocket (#1 UK, #14 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Tattooed Love Boys, The Wait, Precious
LINEUP: Chrissy Hynde, James Honeyman-Scott, Martin Chambers, Pete Farndon.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut album from UK New Wave group melts every turntable it’s on.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Holy cow! What a record!

The first time you hear this, you focus on Hynde and how clear and confident she sounds, and how vulnerable and fragile she is as well on the slower songs. Then on the next listen you hear the band – especially Honeyman-Scott on guitar and Chambers on drums. Finally, you hear it all together, and notice how versatile, how poised and how tight they are.

The first side is one of the ‘perfect’ album sides. It’s well paced, well thought out, and hits all of the right notes and almost wears you out. The second side is just as good but it gears things down a bit to show Hynde and the band at their most fragile before ending with a kick and a roar.

I wore out my vinyl.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Nick Lowe produced their first single, but decided not to work with them any further since he thought they weren’t going to make it. Oopsy!

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with B-sides, some demos (worth keeping) and hot live cuts of Precious and Tattooed Love Boys.

GRADE: A+: When I was younger, I tended to skip the longer ballads on side two, but now I hear their beauty and grace, and coupled with the hot first side, it’s really a perfect record.

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