30 Songs, 1 Hour 58 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

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