Pretenders: Classic or Dud?

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the first album is near-perfect. and even better than near-perfect it is exhilarating and wonderful to listen to. and it has many great quotable lines.

scott seward (scott seward), Monday, 23 August 2004 00:12 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"don't harrass me can't you tell i'm going home i'm tired as hell i'm not that cat i used to be i got a kid i'm 33 baby" that's a distinctive and quotable line if there ever was one.

scott seward (scott seward), Monday, 23 August 2004 00:15 (fourteen years ago) Permalink


scott seward (scott seward), Monday, 23 August 2004 00:16 (fourteen years ago) Permalink


scott seward (scott seward), Monday, 23 August 2004 00:19 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I thought this said 'Proclaimers: Classic or Dud?' I'm disappointed. I like the Proclaimers.

Wooden (Wooden), Monday, 23 August 2004 00:21 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

my sister once made the same mistake.

purple patch (electricsound), Monday, 23 August 2004 00:25 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

purple patch I am listening to that song right now. It's not even how great the lyrics are--her singing them gives me chills. "Maybe tomorrow, maybe someday." And the guitar shifting up before "You've changed your place in this world." This song is too much!

steve hise, Monday, 23 August 2004 00:29 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"You're going gray my baby!" "Day After Day"'s on now (The Singles). "Way up there in the sky, over the city where you sleep tonight. . . ." I cannot get the moon over that skyline out of my mind right now. Jeez, not enough good things can be said about her. So, classic, I guess.

steve hise, Monday, 23 August 2004 00:36 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Mystery Achievement was their first song on the air in the US. I ran out and bought the album. Utterly fantastic! "Learning To Crawl" is right there, too.. I still turn up the radio for these guys, er...

jim wentworth (wench), Monday, 23 August 2004 00:43 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The powers that be
That force us to live like we do
Bring me to my knees
When I see what they've done to you
All of you, except maybe Wooden

steve hise, Monday, 23 August 2004 00:43 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I will stop now, just as soon as I say "2000 Miles" must be one of the finest holiday rock songs ever, admittedly a limited category, but still. "I think of you wherever you go," and you believe her.

steve hise, Monday, 23 August 2004 00:49 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"Y/N: first female-fronted rock band that macho guys wore t-shirts of like badges of pride?"

"Whatabout Siouxsie? The Plasmatics?"

The Pretenders were about before The Plasmatics, weren't they?

In any case, what about Big Brother & The Holding Company (Janis Joplin), Jefferson Airplane (Grace Slick)...?

Pretenders? First album was classic, most of the singles were pretty good and (on the handful of occasions I saw them at least) they were always pretty good live.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Monday, 23 August 2004 08:28 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I only know Get Close because my Dad used to play it in the car. I like it for nostalgic reasons although I'd probably hate it if I heard it now. "Don't Get Me Wrong" and "Hymn To Her" are very lovely.

dog latin (dog latin), Monday, 23 August 2004 08:50 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I agree about 2000 Miles, though it's funny how an American calls it 'holiday rock', which sounds like Dick Dale or Brian Wilson to me. Or maybe Shampoo.

'Private Life', 'Millionaires', 'Downtown (Akron)'. 'Criminal' is a good song. I like the tremolo on 'Never Do That'.

There is one song that's a lot like the Banshees! It's on the 45s compilation.

Great line: '2000 miles / ... it's very far!'

the bellefox, Thursday, 26 August 2004 09:42 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

ha, precious just came on the radio.

love the pretenders, scott's description upthread of the first album as 'exhiliarating' applies to much of their stuff for me.

H (Heruy), Thursday, 26 August 2004 14:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"When you own a big chunk of the bloody Third World, the babies just come with the scenery" is a GREAT FUCKING LINE.

phil d., Thursday, 26 August 2004 14:44 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

isn't it "dead babies"?

amateur!!!st (amateurist), Thursday, 26 August 2004 15:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Pretenders! Dud!?!

Bimble (bimble), Thursday, 26 August 2004 15:42 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"But a wish is a shot in the dark/ When your coin's down the well."

"Now I see you/All impressed and half undressed/ You got paint stick/ All over the scars and lumps and bumps/ Tattooed love boys/ Have got you where I used to lay/ Well ha ha, too bad/ But you know what they say/ Stop snivelin', you're gonna make some plastic surgeon a rich man/ Oh, but the prestige and the glory/ Another human interest story/ You are that."

Two total classics.

Rick Massimo (Rick Massimo), Thursday, 26 August 2004 15:43 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Tatooed Love Boys & the Phone Call - pure genious classics... (genia?)

I always thought it was "The beggars just come with the scenery.." ya know, 3rd world .. beggars... I guess I gotta look it up now.

dave225 (Dave225), Thursday, 26 August 2004 15:50 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I still think that 'Kid' might be the peak.

the bellefox, Thursday, 26 August 2004 17:56 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Kid might be one of the greatest pop songs ever written.. Thanks, I think maybe, to Nick Lowe.

dave225 (Dave225), Thursday, 26 August 2004 18:35 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

April Fools Day 1984, they played the first rock concert held at the Orpheum, a beautiful old theatre in Memphis. Venue management, worried about the hooligan element (and the fact that Chrissie Hynde had already been arrested once in Memphis for kicking out a police car's window), handed out flyers saying "behave yourselves or this will be the first and last rock show at the Orpheum." So the crowd was fairly subdued... well, meek is the word. I don't know if the band didn't know about the warnings, but Hynde kept exhorting the crowd to get up offa our asses. Finally, they started playing "I Go To Sleep," very soft and slow...quieter and slower...finally they all laid down onstage and pretended (haw) to take naps. Then they got up and tore into something more "yow!", maybe "Day After Day." We got the message and picked up the enthusiasm a couple of notches, but it still wasn't the rave-up that the band wanted. (We were well-behaved enough that that's where I saw Zappa that December.)

Rock Hardy (Rock Hardy), Thursday, 26 August 2004 18:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Key words are "hot" and "shit".

Mark (MarkR), Thursday, 26 August 2004 19:17 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Hate to interrupt this love-in, but the timing is perfect: Just the other day I was listening to "Middle Of The Road", a song I've loved for 20 yrs, and for some reason that snarky little line about some "little jerk" of a clingy fan really stuck in my craw. I mean, everybody accepts that assholes like Frank Zappa (who recorded at lot of music that I still enjoy) or Roger Waters (who didn't) had a lot of contempt for their audience, but shouldn't a rock 'n roll FAN like Chrissie Hynde be better than that?

I still like The Pretenders (who played the first and ONLY stadium-sized concert I've ever attended, Detroit's Joe Louis Arena '87, and Chrissie was totally outgoing and charismatic and made an "I'm-not-worthy" wisecrack about sharing the stage with Iggy Pop, who was the opening act, and the main reason I attended) and I still like "Middle Of The Road", but now it leaves a bit of a bad aftertaste, so tell me: Am I misunderstanding or overreacting? And why should it only now bother me 20 years after the fact?


Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Thursday, 26 August 2004 20:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

there aren't many records I vividly remember purchasing, but I certainly remember the day in 1984 on the last day of school when I went to the record store and bought Learning to Crawl on cassette. An absolute classic album!

are any of their post get close albums worth the time beyond the singles? I remember not liking Packed that much when it came out, and then I don't think I bought anything else. I did get hooked on the VH1Classics Pretenders marathon hour a few weekends ago.

Ray Davies and Chrissie Hynde are a power-mullet couple if I've ever seen one.

kyle (akmonday), Thursday, 26 August 2004 20:24 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I heard "Message of Love" the other day, and it effortlessly lifted my spirits (after a multi-hour scream fest courtesy of my teething daughter's aching little gums). Those oomphy chords at the start, Honeyman-Scott's solo, the closing's an absolutely stunning marriage of rock muscle and melodic airyness (i was going to say "evanescence," but that word has been ruined for me).

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 26 August 2004 20:32 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

x-post to Myonga:

I never thought of that lyric as complaining about a fan. I guess you could take it that way if you look at it as a specific piece of autobiography, but "I can't get from the car to the curb without some little jerk on my back" seems a pretty universal sentiment somewhat hyperbolically stated.

Rick Massimo (Rick Massimo), Thursday, 26 August 2004 20:52 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I haven't seen the "Message of Love" video in at least 20 years, but in my memory it's my favorite, v. simple, a circle of alternating white panels and black voids, the band set up inside the circle and playing, shot from the dark backgrounds all around. Haven't been lucky enough to see that one on VH1 Classic yet.

Rock Hardy (Rock Hardy), Thursday, 26 August 2004 21:35 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

My post was supposed to say that I was laughing hysterically at the idea that The Pretenders could be thought of as "dud". Instead, I messed it up.

Bimble (bimble), Thursday, 26 August 2004 22:55 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I'd say they're a dud now.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 26 August 2004 22:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I really like "Brass in Pocket" and their other song that sounds like "Brass in Pocket", but most of their first album didn't do much for me. Maybe I should listen to it again.

o. nate (onate), Thursday, 26 August 2004 23:45 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i like the "back on the chain gang" video a lot.

i made another pretenders thread somewhere, i like them (her?) a whole lot.

amateur!!!st (amateurist), Friday, 27 August 2004 03:45 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Conversely, I find the video for "I'll Stand By You" really depressing: Chrissie cavorting unconvincingly in a log cabin with a model pretty-boy, proclaiming her undying dedication to him. Bleaaah. This was the woman who sang "Precious" and "Bad Boys Get Spanked"? Vile.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 27 August 2004 03:55 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i like the song "i'll stand by you", though.

amateur!!!st (amateurist), Friday, 27 August 2004 03:56 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

what is "hymn to her" about??

amateur!!st, Thursday, 9 September 2004 19:32 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

her mother

the surface noise (slight return) (electricsound), Thursday, 9 September 2004 22:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I like one or two tracks off the record from, when was it - 2001?

the chimefox, Saturday, 11 September 2004 12:52 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
Ray Davies and Chrissie Hynde are a power-mullet couple if I've ever seen one.


Eisbär (llamasfur), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 06:09 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Viva el amor! is their best album since Learning to Crawl.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 10:12 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Has any other rock star maintained the same look for as long as Chrissie Hynde (and brush that fucking hair out of your eyes)?

Bob Six (bobbysix), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 11:28 (twelve years ago) Permalink

chrissy amphlett. must be something about the name.

gem (trisk), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 11:34 (twelve years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

scott seward, I love you.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 23:19 (ten years ago) Permalink

saw them opening for the Who about a year and a half ago. their set was full of surprises: they opened with "the wait" and closed with "precious"; the shitty songs ("i'll stand by you") somehow worked; and hynde's voice has not changed one iota since 1980. so many bands have to play songs in different keys to accommodate the singer's time-ravaged voice. the pretenders had to make no such adjustments.

Lawrence the Looter, Thursday, 5 June 2008 00:31 (ten years ago) Permalink

Love the first record.

libcrypt, Thursday, 5 June 2008 00:44 (ten years ago) Permalink

packed! is quite a good little album, readily available at any used CD store.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Thursday, 5 June 2008 01:00 (ten years ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

They remind me of The Police, in that they were a bunch of lags who'd been around the fringes of the British music scene forever, and then were roped together to back up a hit-sniffing singer/songwriter on a major label.

Which is not to say they weren't an excellent band, as they obviously were - at least for the first LP.

PhilK, Thursday, 3 July 2008 20:25 (ten years ago) Permalink

They were very good to excellent on a couple of other albums too.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Thursday, 3 July 2008 21:31 (ten years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

did nick lowe produce "kid"? it uses the same latin-by-way-of-brill-building syncopation as his "cruel to be kind"

not an altogether terrible video. young chrissie hynde looks like parker posey here.

amateurist, Saturday, 24 October 2009 09:22 (nine years ago) Permalink

'kid' is a chris thomas production

undergrad lovers (electricsound), Saturday, 24 October 2009 09:26 (nine years ago) Permalink

I'm usually a defender of expensive '80s albus, but Shakey OTM about the vacuousenss of Get Close.

I just don't think those touches play to her strengths, and they don't reveal anything or challenge her in interesting ways they just feel like half-assed window-dressing. Was kinda surprised to read Alomar was involved tbh, I can't identify his contributions.

Οὖτις, Friday, 24 February 2017 17:32 (two years ago) Permalink

you know what I really love on re-listening to these is "Pack it Up"

Οὖτις, Friday, 24 February 2017 17:33 (two years ago) Permalink

also can anyone explain why they did a song called "Louie Louie" that is not THE "Louie Louie"? idgi

Οὖτις, Friday, 24 February 2017 17:49 (two years ago) Permalink

Don't sleep on packed!. It's got some of her loveliest material ("When Will I See You," "Never Do That," "Let's Make a Pact").

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 24 February 2017 17:53 (two years ago) Permalink

I posted this in the other thread.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 24 February 2017 17:54 (two years ago) Permalink

"Thumbelina", off Learning To Crawl, sets a bar for female-led Americana that I wish was reached for more.

to fly across the city and find Aerosmith's car (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 24 February 2017 23:17 (two years ago) Permalink

Hidden gem on Get Close: "Tradition of Love"

Hideous Lump, Saturday, 25 February 2017 07:04 (two years ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...

Chrissie's performance half-saves this song for me. Imagine it in the hands of Celine Dion or some other nuance-adverse bleater and you might see what I mean.

iCloudius (cryptosicko), Thursday, 8 February 2018 03:26 (one year ago) Permalink

if there were any justice in this fallen world, "show me" would have earned her a billion dollars

reggie (qualmsley), Thursday, 8 February 2018 15:35 (one year ago) Permalink

the s/t debut is one of the best rock records ever. pretenders II is good. they are CLASSIC
p much everything after the deaths of JHS & PF = DUD

flappy bird, Thursday, 8 February 2018 18:23 (one year ago) Permalink

Bar maybe a half dozen or so songs, maybe. Though Hynde remains classic, which kind of keeps the goodwill flowing. Last couple of albums did not even feature Chambers, so wonder why her sole solo album was the only one designated as such.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 8 February 2018 18:30 (one year ago) Permalink

agreed that Hynde is eternally classic

flappy bird, Thursday, 8 February 2018 18:32 (one year ago) Permalink

I'll go as far as the third album and quite enjoy the occasional single after that.

Full of bile and Blue Nile denial (Turrican), Thursday, 8 February 2018 18:36 (one year ago) Permalink

agreed that Hynde is eternally classic

sometime in the last decade she chose a friend's band to open for part of a tour. he told me that when they went in for their first meeting, she said "yeah I had this huge pile of CDs to look through, and you guys were the UGLIEST motherfuckers out of all the bands. I figured that you were in it for the music and not the chicks, so I wanted to check you out."

sleeve, Thursday, 8 February 2018 18:39 (one year ago) Permalink


hoooyaaargh it's me satan (voodoo chili), Thursday, 8 February 2018 18:41 (one year ago) Permalink

that rules lol

has she written a memoir?

Winter. Dickens. Yes. (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 8 February 2018 18:47 (one year ago) Permalink

yes, and i read it

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 8 February 2018 18:57 (one year ago) Permalink

It disappointed me. She's such a vivid talker and songwriter and was once a critic that I expected something felicitous.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 8 February 2018 19:01 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah it was alright, but disappointing

she has some antiquated views about some stuff (and i understand where they come from but they are not sentiments currently in cultural vogue -- she's more caitlin flanagan than people might want her to be), and i don't really identify with her characterization of our hometown, partially because when she lived there was before i was born.
her descriptions of her life in london were pretty interesting, but not dishy.

she's very cool, as you would expect. cool = not into dishing or revealing too much
i don't remember a whole lot about it tbh, not really one of my top memoirs even though as a person she is indeed classic.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 8 February 2018 19:02 (one year ago) Permalink

"yeah I had this huge pile of CDs to look through, and you guys were the UGLIEST motherfuckers out of all the bands. I figured that you were in it for the music and not the chicks

tbh I'm not really following Hynde's reasoning here

Guayaquil (eephus!), Thursday, 8 February 2018 19:07 (one year ago) Permalink

Like, they're clearly in it for the music. Face for radio, etc.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 8 February 2018 19:09 (one year ago) Permalink

p much everything after the deaths of JHS & PF = DUD

nah, a lot of the 3rd album and get close is great.

"Taste's very strange!" (stevie), Thursday, 8 February 2018 19:41 (one year ago) Permalink

The transition from the middle 8 to the verse in Back on the Chain Gang is one of the best things I have ever heard

Dr X O'Skeleton, Saturday, 10 February 2018 10:52 (one year ago) Permalink

tbh I'm not really following Hynde's reasoning here

me neither; surely being in a band has a bigger perceived boost to male attractiveness for 'unconventional-looking' guys than for already-pretty boys?

I didn't know until Spotify told me that there's a version of 'Let's get lost' with Neil Tennant. I like it.

kinder, Saturday, 10 February 2018 13:16 (one year ago) Permalink

I didn't like I'll Stand By You that much, but my dislike of it is based on the fact that it paved the way for Love Can Build A Bridge, the worst thing in the discography of three different artists.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Saturday, 10 February 2018 14:46 (one year ago) Permalink

Think Clapton has probably done worse

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Saturday, 10 February 2018 14:48 (one year ago) Permalink

Pretenders influence can be felt in some newer bands like dum dum girls, alvvays, Laura marling and especially stories from the city

kolakube (Ross), Saturday, 10 February 2018 21:52 (one year ago) Permalink

two months pass...

The most enjoyment I've gotten out of Arcade Fire in over a decade:

Dangleballs and the Ballerina (cryptosicko), Friday, 13 April 2018 00:45 (one year ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Stop your sobbing is one of the best approximations of the spirit of doo-wop. Man does that guitarist rip too, lovers of today melts my face off

Ross, Saturday, 11 August 2018 03:54 (nine months ago) Permalink


Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 11 August 2018 04:16 (nine months ago) Permalink

"Birds of Paradise" came up on random shuffle for me today. A minor Pretenders song, sure, but man is it gorgeous.

Police, Academy (cryptosicko), Saturday, 11 August 2018 04:43 (nine months ago) Permalink

^ yeah!

Gonna sample brass in pockets intro, down pitch it and loop it into a hip hop beat. Think it would sound dope

Ross, Saturday, 11 August 2018 06:22 (nine months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

You listed the correct post-80s record.

Engles in the Outfield (cryptosicko), Monday, 8 October 2018 03:54 (seven months ago) Permalink

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