Chrissie Hynde has her first new Pretenders album in 8 years, but it’s a stealth release without marketing and publicity. I’m not even sure it has a distribution. But here goes.
“Alone” is yet another declaration of independence by the number 1 one rocker chick in the world. With Grace Slick in retirement, Hynde retains the title of the best female rock vocalist on the planet. She’s also the toughest songwriter, full of Tootsie Roll songs that are hard on the outside and soft in the middle. And tasty, too, replete with hooks, memorable riffs, and choruses. You know, Chrissie scares a lot of people but she loves to make songs that you can’t get out of your head.
One surprise on this Pretenders album: the absence of drummer Martin Chambers, who’s been with her since 1979. He’s the only other original band member. I don’t know where he is, but I hope he’s okay. I sure hope there’s not been a falling out. That would be terrible.
Anyway, Chrissie’s written a lot of the songs by herself, and some as collaborations. The best of the latter include “Let’s Get Lost,” written with Amanda Ghost (she almost destroyed Epic Records a few years ago) and maybe a nod to Chet Baker. Sounds like a single to me, if there is such a thing anymore. “Never Be Together” is a bluesy number that will stick in your memory for a long time; it features the legendary Duane Eddy on guitar! Really!
I’m already addicted to the title track, and to “The Man You Are.” “Chord Lord” seems like a Pretenders song from 1983, and that’s a good thing. “One More Day” and “Roadie Man” each harken back to a late 60s pop sound. I;m intrigued by the Goth -ish ballad “Death is Not Enough” and “Holy Commotion,” which closes the album is one of the few rockers.
Unfortunately there’s no lyric sheet, no press release, and little to work with, so I’m winging this– and that’s only because “Alone” has had such a poor launch that it’s sitting at number 56 on amazon.com right now. Oy vey. Go get this record. It doesn’t disappoint. Far from it. It’s a total pleasure.
PS Pretenders are on tour, hitting New York on December 1st. Not to be missed.
Here’s a great live show I found on YouTube from 1994: