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¡Viva el Amor!

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Album Review

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 saying 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 knockout 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. [Edsel's 2015 reissue of 1999's ¡Viva el Amor! expands the album by a full CD and a full DVD. The DVD has promo videos for "Human" and "Popstar," plus five live BBC appearances. The CD rounds up ten stray songs released on B-sides, soundtracks, and other places, a clearinghouse highlighted by a cover of Neil Young's "The Needle and the Damage Done."]

Customer Reviews

Pretenders Gem

Nothing will ever be as perfect as Brass in Pocket, however there are some pop gems within this. Human, Nails in the Road, Popstar and From the Heart Down are classic Chrissy Hynde/Pretenders efforts. Chrissy Hynde is a genuine songwriter and all these songs are to be enjoyed, though the fore mentioned are as good a tunes as anything she has written pre this. Top notch!


Formed: 1978 in London, Engalnd

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Over the years, the Pretenders became a vehicle for guitarist/vocalist Chrissie Hynde's songwriting, yet it was a full-fledged band when it was formed in the late '70s. With their initial records, the group crossed the bridge between punk/new wave and Top 40 pop more than any other band, recording a series of hard, spiky singles that were also melodic and immediately accessible. Hynde was an invigorating, sexy singer who bent the traditional male roles of rock & roll to her own liking, while guitarist...
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