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Rock - Released January 11, 1980 | WM UK

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released January 11, 1980 | Sire

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Few rock & roll records rock as hard or with as much originality as the Pretenders' eponymous debut album. A sleek, stylish fusion of Stonesy rock & roll, new wave pop, and pure punk aggression, Pretenders is teeming with sharp hooks and a viciously cool attitude. Although Chrissie Hynde establishes herself as a forceful and distinctively feminine songwriter, the record isn't a singer/songwriter's tour de force -- it's a rock & roll album, powered by a unique and aggressive band. Guitarist James Honeyman-Scott never plays conventional riffs or leads, and his phased, treated guitar gives new dimension to the pounding rhythms of "Precious," "Tattooed Love Boys," "Up the Neck," and "The Wait," as well as the more measured pop of "Kid," "Brass in Pocket," and "Mystery Achievement." He provides the perfect backing for Hynde and her tough, sexy swagger. Hynde doesn't fit into any conventional female rock stereotype, and neither do her songs, alternately displaying a steely exterior or a disarming emotional vulnerability. It's a deep, rewarding record, whose primary virtue is its sheer energy. Pretenders moves faster and harder than most rock records, delivering an endless series of melodies, hooks, and infectious rhythms in its 12 songs. Few albums, let alone debuts, are ever this astonishingly addictive. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 1, 1994 | Rhino - Warner Records

Chrissie Hynde rebounds from the directionless Packed! with Last of the Independents, a tough album that proves she can mature without losing her edge. Most of the record crackles with the lean power of Learning to Crawl, occasionally stopping for a lushly produced number recalling Get Close. Although the record goes on a little too long and there are a couple of weak songs, particularly the anthemic "I'm a Mother," Last of the Independents re-establishes Hynde as a powerful and insightful rocker. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released October 20, 1986 | WM UK

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Rock - Released July 17, 2020 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd

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"Too old to know better/ too young for her age," Chrissie Hynde sings, flashing by a mirror in the slow soul music sway of "You Can't Hurt a Fool" from Hate For Sale. There's much truth in the notion that since the deaths of original guitarist Pete Farndon and James Honeyman-Scott who OD'd less than a year apart between 1982-83, The Pretenders have been a Hynde solo project with varying degrees of success. The band’s last record, 2016's Alone, produced by Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, and featuring the musicians from his band The Arcs emphasized that point. Now under the steady hand of producer Stephen Street (The Smiths, Cranberries, Blur), Hynde and her touring band of 15 years have hatched an album that will especially resonate with fans of the band's early work. With original drummer Martin Chambers aboard, this also feels and sounds like the first true "band" album in a very long time—a throwback move where Hynde, still in good voice, again sounds emotionally engaged. Energized by a solid batch of co-writes between Hynde and touring guitarist James Walbourne, Hate for Sale opens with the snarling title track that both savages an ex-lover, and according to Hynde, serves as a tribute to punk outfit The Damned, whose members she once jammed with just before they became a band. Single "The Buzz," an immediately recognizable return to a vintage Pretenders sound, has changes and rhythms similar to "Kid" from the band's 1980 eponymous debut album. The reasonably credible reggae of "Lightning Man" is another tribute, this time to Richard Swift, a chief mover behind Alone. And a revved up rockabillyized Bo Diddley beat gives "Didn't Want to Be This Lonely" a spirited snap. Forty years on, Chrissie's back with the band. © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Pop - Released November 20, 2020 | WM UK

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Pop - Released January 11, 1980 | Rhino

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Few rock & roll records rock as hard or with as much originality as the Pretenders' eponymous debut album. A sleek, stylish fusion of Stonesy rock & roll, new wave pop, and pure punk aggression, Pretenders is teeming with sharp hooks and a viciously cool attitude. Although Chrissie Hynde establishes herself as a forceful and distinctively feminine songwriter, the record isn't a singer/songwriter's tour de force -- it's a rock & roll album, powered by a unique and aggressive band. Guitarist James Honeyman-Scott never plays conventional riffs or leads, and his phased, treated guitar gives new dimension to the pounding rhythms of "Precious," "Tattooed Love Boys," "Up the Neck," and "The Wait," as well as the more measured pop of "Kid," "Brass in Pocket," and "Mystery Achievement." He provides the perfect backing for Hynde and her tough, sexy swagger. Hynde doesn't fit into any conventional female rock stereotype, and neither do her songs, alternately displaying a steely exterior or a disarming emotional vulnerability. It's a deep, rewarding record, whose primary virtue is its sheer energy. Pretenders moves faster and harder than most rock records, delivering an endless series of melodies, hooks, and infectious rhythms in its 12 songs. Few albums, let alone debuts, are ever this astonishingly addictive. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 25, 2006 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released October 26, 1987 | Warner Records

While The Singles may misrepresent the Pretenders, concentrating as it does on their jangly, radio-friendly material rather than their punkier, proto-Riot Grrrl fare, there isn't a track here that fails to delight. Of course, it helps that Chrissie Hynde is arguably the most emotionally compelling female pop vocalist of the second half of the 20th century. But The Singles also proves something that's too often overlooked: that Hynde is the first distaff rocker whose songwriting can stand comparison with the genre's biggest guns. High points here are almost too numerous to mention, including the Motown-influenced "Don't Get Me Wrong" (which spawned a charming video with Hynde intercut with her idol Patrick Macnee in footage from TV's' "The Avengers,"), the exquisite Christmas song "2000 Miles," the chiming, Byrds-ish "Talk of the Town," and (best of all) the killer garage rocker "Middle of the Road." There are also some great covers, including two Ray Davies songs, a fun version of Sonny & Cher 's "I Got You Babe" with UB40, and a take on the Persuaders' "Thin Line Between Love and Hate" that allows Hynde to show of her '70s soul roots. Bottom line: greatest-hits albums don't come any better than this. © TiVo
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Pop - Released January 11, 1984 | Rhino

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Pop - Released August 7, 1981 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released July 20, 2004 | Rhino - Warner Records

Essentially, Isle of View is the Pretenders' "unplugged" album. Chrissie Hynde runs through 15 of the group's songs, from hits like "Back on the Chain Gang" to more obscure numbers like "Lovers of Today." Occasionally, she is backed by a string quartet, including on a drastically rearranged (and poorly conceived) "Kid," but the the strings aren't as effective or startling as the piano of Blur's Damon Albarn on "I Go to Sleep." Even though it features a number of reinterpretations of some of the Pretenders' greatest songs, Isle of View is one of the group's lesser efforts, simply because there aren't any new versions here that surpass the originals. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released November 4, 2011 | WM UK

When the Pretenders burst on the scene in 1979 with the singles "Kid," "Brass in Pocket," and "Stop Your Sobbing," they were a breath of fresh air, a band that combined the energy and attitude of punk with top-shelf songwriting courtesy of Chrissie Hynde, and an appreciation of the best of rock's past and present. The original lineup of the Pretenders cut two superb albums -- 1980's Pretenders and 1981's Pretenders II -- before the deaths of guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and bassist Pete Farndon forced Hynde and drummer Martin Chambers to reinvent the group on their third album, 1984's excellent Learning to Crawl. Original Albums Series is a box set that features the Pretenders' first three albums in full, along with two other fine titles from their catalog, 1986's Get Close and 1994's Last of the Independents, providing a well-detailed picture of this group at their best and most influential. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Pop - Released May 15, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Records

Chrissie Hynde took a long, hard road to rock & roll stardom, but when her band, the Pretenders, finally broke through in 1979, they wasted no time, growing from promising newcomers on the British music scene to major international stardom with a pair of smash albums to their credit in a mere three years. But the Pretenders' meteoric rise came to a crashing halt in 1982, when drug abuse claimed the life of guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and forced Hynde and drummer Martin Chambers to dump bassist Pete Farndon, who would also succumb to an OD in April 1983. Hynde was forced by circumstance to reinvent the Pretenders for their third album, 1984's Learning to Crawl, but if the new edition of the group lacked some of the spark of the band that made the first two LPs, through sheer force of will Hynde created a masterpiece. While Hynde hardly held back in her emotionally potent songwriting in the Pretenders' early work, on Learning to Crawl there's a gravity to her lyrics that blended with her tough but wiry melodic sense and streetwise intelligence to create a set of truly remarkable tunes. "Back on the Chain Gang" is a touching tribute to her fallen comrades that still sounds bitterly rueful, "Middle of the Road" is a furious rocker that explores the emotional and physical toll of a musician's life, "Time the Avenger" is a taut, literate examination of a businessman's adulterous relationship, "My City Was Gone" deals with the economic and cultural decay of the Midwest in a manner both pithy and genuinely heartfelt, and "2000 Miles" is a Christmas number that demonstrates Hynde can be warm without getting sappy. As a guitarist, Robbie McIntosh brought a simpler and more elemental style to the Pretenders than James Honeyman-Scott, but his tough, muscular leads fit these songs well, and bassist Malcolm Foster's solid punch fits Chambers' drumming perfectly. Three albums into her recording career, Chrissie Hynde found herself having to put the past to bed and carve out a new beginning for herself with Learning to Crawl, but she pulled it off with a striking mixture of courage, strength, and great rock & roll; with the exception of the instant-classic debut album, it's the Pretenders' finest work. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 21, 2016 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd

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Pop - Released June 22, 1999 | Rhino - Warner Records

Since Packed! (at least), each new record from the Pretenders has been hailed as Chrissie Hynde's return to form (praise that was thrown at Learning to Crawl, by the way), and it's hard not to resist to say the same of Viva el Amor!, the seventh studio album from the Pretenders. So, we won't say that, even though it may be true. At the very least, Viva el Amor! is a very appealing, focused album from Hynde and Martin Chambers, their most consistent album in years. It's not just that the songs are uniformly good (Hynde's writing is sharp again, without seeming bitter or jaded), it's that the record sounds excellent -- a clean, uncluttered production that enhances the muscular performances. For the first time since Get Close, there is a minimum of sentiment -- the ballads are never saccharine, even when the melody is lovely -- and Hynde resists her temptation for exaggerated metaphors or embarrassing phrases (even if her continuing fascination with bikers is puzzling). Viva el Amor! never provides a knock-out punch, even on the level of "Night in My Veins," but it never lags in momentum, as many Pretenders records do. Hynde sounds committed and convincing on each song, turning the album into one of the group's strongest. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 26, 2021 | The Band Aid Trust

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Pop - Released August 3, 2004 | Rhino - Warner Records

In the first edition of the Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde was a smart and streetwise rock & roller with just enough maturity to make something of what life had shown her by her mid-twenties -- and she had the rough-and-tumble band to match for her first two albums. The second version of the group cast her as an unwitting but unbowed survivor, determined to move on and keep rocking despite the deaths of two of her bandmates, and the tough, no-nonsense approach of her new collaborators on Learning to Crawl reflected her attitude. Released in 1986, Get Close marked the debut of the Pretenders' Mark Three, and on this album listeners are introduced to Chrissie Hynde, Mature Professional Musician with a band to match. Get Close is never less than solid as a work of craft, and guitarist Robbie McIntosh, drummer Blair Cunningham, and bassist T.M. Stevens deliver tight and emphatic performances throughout, but they also sound like what they are -- journeymen musicians who bring their chops to their projects while leaving their personalities at the door. While Hynde always dominated the Pretenders, by this time it was obvious that this was fully her show, and if she felt less like rocking and more like exploring her emotions and thoughts about parenthood on midtempo pop tunes, no one in the group was going to prod her into doing otherwise; the presence of a large number of additional session players further buffs away any of Get Close's potential sharp edges. Despite all this, Hynde's voice is in great form throughout, and when she gets her dander up, she still has plenty to say and good ways to say it; "How Much Did You Get for Your Soul?" is a gleefully venomous attack on the musically unscrupulous; "Don't Get Me Wrong" is a superb pop tune and a deserved hit single; and the Motown-flavored "I Remember You" and the moody "Chill Factor" suggest she'd been learning a lot from her old soul singles. But after three great albums from the Pretenders, Get Close sounded good but not especially striking, and its hit-and-miss approach, with a few great songs surrounded by lesser material, was something Hynde's fans would find themselves getting used to over the group's next few releases. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Pop - Released November 4, 1986 | Rhino - Warner Records

In the first edition of the Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde was a smart and streetwise rock & roller with just enough maturity to make something of what life had shown her by her mid-twenties -- and she had the rough-and-tumble band to match for her first two albums. The second version of the group cast her as an unwitting but unbowed survivor, determined to move on and keep rocking despite the deaths of two of her bandmates, and the tough, no-nonsense approach of her new collaborators on Learning to Crawl reflected her attitude. Released in 1986, Get Close marked the debut of the Pretenders' Mark Three, and on this album listeners are introduced to Chrissie Hynde, Mature Professional Musician with a band to match. Get Close is never less than solid as a work of craft, and guitarist Robbie McIntosh, drummer Blair Cunningham, and bassist T.M. Stevens deliver tight and emphatic performances throughout, but they also sound like what they are -- journeymen musicians who bring their chops to their projects while leaving their personalities at the door. While Hynde always dominated the Pretenders, by this time it was obvious that this was fully her show, and if she felt less like rocking and more like exploring her emotions and thoughts about parenthood on midtempo pop tunes, no one in the group was going to prod her into doing otherwise; the presence of a large number of additional session players further buffs away any of Get Close's potential sharp edges. Despite all this, Hynde's voice is in great form throughout, and when she gets her dander up, she still has plenty to say and good ways to say it; "How Much Did You Get for Your Soul?" is a gleefully venomous attack on the musically unscrupulous; "Don't Get Me Wrong" is a superb pop tune and a deserved hit single; and the Motown-flavored "I Remember You" and the moody "Chill Factor" suggest she'd been learning a lot from her old soul singles. But after three great albums from the Pretenders, Get Close sounded good but not especially striking, and its hit-and-miss approach, with a few great songs surrounded by lesser material, was something Hynde's fans would find themselves getting used to over the group's next few releases. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Pop - Released August 15, 1981 | Rhino

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The Pretenders' debut album was such a powerful, monumental record that its sequel was bound to be a bit of a disappointment, and Pretenders II is. Essentially, this album is an unabashed sequel, offering more of the same sound, attitude, and swagger, including titles that seem like rips on their predecessors and another Ray Davies cover. This gives the record a bit too much of a pat feeling, especially since the band seems to have a lost a bit of momentum -- they don't rock as hard, Chrissie Hynde's songwriting isn't as consistent, James Honeyman-Scott isn't as inventive or clever. These all are disappointments, yet this first incarnation of the Pretenders was a tremendous band, and even if they offer diminished returns, it's still diminished returns on good material, and much of Pretenders II is quite enjoyable. Yes, it's a little slicker and more stylized than its predecessor, and, yes, there's a little bit of filler, yet any album where rockers as tough as "Message of Love" and "The Adultress" are balanced by a pop tune as lovely as "Talk of the Town" is hard to resist. And when you realize that this fantastic band only recorded two albums, you take that second album, warts and all, because the teaming of Hynde and Honeyman-Scott was one of the great pairs, and it's utterly thrilling to hear them together, even when the material isn't quite up to the high standards they set the first time around. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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The Pretenders in the magazine