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Pretenders II

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iTunes Review

For their second album, The Pretenders pretty much redoubled the songcraft and the sentiments of their pop-crunching debut but added some musical restraint and life experience. (A year or more of relentless touring and chart successes can mean a lot in the hands of a great songwriter; just listen to “Day After Day.”) Like any truly great rock ’n’ roller, band frontwoman Chrissie Hynde could soothe and rock. Here she spins a melancholy childhood yarn involving “catching frogs in ditches and listening for elves” (“Birds of Paradise”) and then turns around and rails on an idiot punk (“Bad Boys Get Spanked”). Then, as if offering recompense for songwriting lessons learned, Hynde curtsies to one of the greatest songwriters ever by covering Ray Davies’ wonderful Kinks demo “I Go to Sleep” (the band previously covered The Kinks’ “Stop Your Sobbing”). This 1981 album’s two massive hits, “Talk of the Town” and “Message of Love,” bottleneck everything tight and tender about the band, which would soon be struck with tragedy when both guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and bassist Pete Farndon died of drug overdoses.

Customer Reviews

Wake Up Call

This album was no sad follow-up, it was as good or, some might say, better, than the first album. Some of these songs changed the way that people play music now, like "Waste Not, Want Not" for the ache & the iambic pent... you know what I mean...something that The Pretenders, & C. Hynde always delivered, but it is very much refined for this album. Forget the 'hits'... "Day After Day" is superb. "Pack It Up" is what I sing and play when I have had it with where I am at the moment and need to be on the road. "Jealous Dogs" and "The English Roses" give you one of the tightest rhythm sections ever and her voice in truly rare form. Critics rag forever about second albums. So what. Don't listen to critics, listen to fans. a.w.

Critics Don't Always Get It Right...

And it is no truer then this follow-up to their self-titled debut. The Pretenders were a complex band. Sure they could produce great pop songs that seemed to appeal to the audience at large; but, when it came to letting it all out in the studio, no one was doing it better at the beginning of the New Wave Era then this band. Standouts on this album: The Adultress starts off with the swagger and pomp Chrissie has always been known for; Message of Love and Talk of the Town are the two great pop songs that this album is known for; Waste Not Want Not is a "hauntingly" great song; and The English Roses is a sad but powerful song about love. If you have already listened to the first album, then I hope you will give this album a chance. Bands, like critics, don't always get it right either...especially for their sophomore effort. Thank goodness this one did.

Critics don't always get it it right

Although not as exciting as her first album, the 2nd is very good despite the critics' ratings.


Formed: 1978 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

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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