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Pretenders II (Reissue)

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Album Review

The Pretenders' second album received a much-deserved upgrade in the fall of 2006, as Rhino reissued it as a double-disc set containing a remastered version of the original album on the first disc and a wealth of rarities on the second. If this bonus disc pales in comparison to the bonus disc on the reissue of The Pretenders, it's because it packs few revelations or unexpected rarities among its 18 tracks. Which isn't to say that there's a lot of familiar recordings here: all but two of the tracks are previously unreleased, but all but three are live tracks. Since the original lineup of the Pretenders was one of the great rock & roll bands of its time, these live tracks are all very good, bordering on excellent, but it's not quite the same as hearing rough demos and unheard songs, which is what makes the bonus disc on The Pretenders so good. That said, the live cuts here are all excellent, the demo of "Talk of the Town" is fine, and the alternate guitar version of "I Go to Sleep" is worth having, so this will hardly be a disappointment to those who love the album. In fact, since this lineup of the Pretenders didn't leave much of a recorded legacy behind, it's easy to argue that this is closer to being essential than being a curiosity for those who love this band.


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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