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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

Art Is Voice...Get It.

I bought this on faith. It has a raw flavor of the early (really starting out) band's L.A. shows. of which I have only heard of in Los Angeles Legends ~ point is that every song has Hynde signature all over it. Her writing was never better & I do not want to bring on a political issue ...BUT - why did this get ZERO air play? Well, that would be for us to figure of my personal favourites and the lack of a top 40 hit is maybe a great reason to check it out and wonder why I would tell you: after aboput 2 years on my ipod... I like every song on this album (and "Loose Screw" ) as much or more than any big hit like "Brass In Pocket" or "Middle Of The Road"... 6 out of 10 stars.

Crisp, Clear & Beautiful

As a big fan of Hynde's work with and without her own band, I'll say that 7 years after getting this album, it is my favorite Pretenders album of all, yes even the early ones. Its the most consistent set of songs released, both in her writing and the sonics of the recordings- beautifully done!

One of her best.

An excelent album. This ranks up there with her best work.


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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