The Pretenders announced punk rock to a lot of Americans who heard about the Sex Pistols but couldn’t quite get what was going on with them. The songs on the band’s debut were sometimes tough, but “Brass in Pocket” and a cover of the Kinks’ “Stop Your Sobbing” demonstrated the band’s finesse and depth. The Pretenders represented a second wave of British Invasion bands and a rejuvenation of rock and roll. For me, this record opened the door to the Clash and a lot of other great music.
Drinking a beer and imagining I’m 23 again and hearing rock and roll in a fresh way for the first time in years. The music is ferocious and, at the same time, subtle and layered. Chrissy Hynde is one of rock and roll’s greatest and toughest rock singers and songwriters.
The Breakfast Club or other John Hughes teen comedies from the 80s.
Mobile Fidelity’s pressing of The Pretenders retains much of the fire of the original Sire Records US pressing while adding space around the instruments and a deeper soundstage. Chrissy Hynde’s voice comes out into the room with the instruments layered behind her in support. Small details, such as the touch of reverb that Chris Thomas added to Hynde’s singing, are easier to hear and Chris Farndon’s bass lines are larger and have even greater impact.
Kreig Wunderlich’s mastering backs off on the compression of the earlier pressing a bit, but pushing the volume up brings back the excitement of the original while bringing out elements of the recording more clearly. Hynde’s voice is more textured and expressive, James Honeyman Scott’s guitar is deeper and more complex even in the passages where it snarls, and Martin Chambers’ drums sound even grander and more impressive.
You might miss the slight grittiness of the earlier pressing, but pulling the volume up just a bit gave me the excitement I always experienced from this record, but with more transparency and depth.
Last chance to change your mind...