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Music Review: Hynde-sight is 2020 for the Pretenders


The Pretenders “Hate for Sale” (BMG)

Call them the great Pretenders, because that's what they are on their latest studio album that is among the best this legendary band has ever produced.

It starts off punky, complete with a false start on the title track, as raw, urgent and aggressive as they have ever sounded. Close your eyes and you can picture this one blaring out to the leather-and-safety pins crowd at CBGBs in the late '70s.

“The Buzz” follows, a melodic power pop gem in the spirit of “Kid.” The buzzsaw guitars return on “Turf Accountant Daddy,” a song about a man burning the candle at three ends, juggling lovers.

“I Didn't Know When to Stop” and “Didn't Want to Be This Lonely” capture a garage band energy and optimism that it's all still in front of them — even for a band already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And try not humming the melody to “Junkie Walk” after hearing it just once.

Singer-songwriter Chrissie Hynde sounds as good today as she did in 1979. Her trademark vocal catch, where she inserts a tiny hitch into a one syllable word to draw it out, is on full and frequent display. You'll lu-uhv it, trust me.

Hynde wrote most of the album with guitarist James Walbourne, who also contributes slashing, speedy solos along with perfectly restrained melodic lines, depending on what's needed.

Wayne Parry, The Associated Press