Reason #285: Pretenders
The Pretenders debut stands amongst the best of all time, and rightfully so. How can someone right out of the gate write a pop song as great as Brass In Pocket? Really, in my opinion, this song alone should be enough to induct Chrissie Hynde and Co. into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Hynde has always kind of reminded me of a female version of Tom Petty, or maybe Tom Petty has always reminded me of a male version of Chrissie Hynde; whichever, I think their music and commercial/critical trajectory, especially at the beginning, is remarkably similar. Both were considered “new wave” when they really weren’t. Petty released Damn the Torpedoes in 1979, the Pretenders self titled debut was released in England that same year, ’80 in North America. Both bands hit their commercial peak in the mid-late ‘80’s, and both seemed to fizzle out shortly thereafter. You can argue with me all you want but I don’t think either was ever able to match the quality of those early albums later in their respective careers. At heart these two groups were essentially exceptional pub rock/garage rock bands that made good.
At any rate, Brass In Pocket, the vicious rocker and album opener Precious, Space Invader, The Wait and album closer Mystery Achievement are all steller rock and roll tracks that have not aged one iota since the day I heard them. I can’t say that for the songs on 1986’s Get Close, but I think that has more to do with production than the songwriting.