I have had a bit of a Blondie heavy week in terms of my actual listening. For the first time I actually ventured away from Parallel Lines and tried Eat to the Beat, which resulted in ‘Atomic’ being on repeat for the better part of an hour. This is my roundabout way of saying that I just felt the urge to continue with my rocky female leads of the 1980s and finally give the Pretenders’ debut album a go.
I have had this album for YEARS and I was always put off listening to it because of, for some unknown reason, The Bangles. Way back when I decided to listen to Different Light (the album with ‘Manic Monday’ and ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’ on it) and was so disappointed that the rest of the album couldn’t live up to the singles. So, due to ‘Brass In Pocket’ being such a strong single, it’s taken me a decade to finally get around to listening to Pretenders.
What the hell was I waiting for. Pretenders is excellent and I really have no idea how a bad Bangles experience prevented me from listening to this. Upon its release, Pretenders must have been such an unusual album to hear – hell it’s still pretty unique now. As a whole it really is a blend of rock, pop-rock and new wave, which is right in my wheelhouse.
For me Pretenders feels like an interesting half-way house between the new wave of Parallel Lines and the alternative rock of Murmur. There is something about James Honeyman-Scott’s guitar and the sheer energy coming from Chrissie Hynde’s vocals that makes this an extremely pleasurable listen. No tracks feel the same and yet everything feels cohesive. This really is a great album.
At this point I am really running on empty when it comes to female fronted albums. If the list doesn’t change significantly in the next few years, I only have 4 of these albums left (5 if you count Sonic Youth). All the more reason to blast my way through this list as quickly as I can so I can extend it… once I listen to pretty much the entire Pink Floyd back catalogue that is.