The Pretenders will release their eleventh studio album, Hate for Sale, this coming Friday, 40 years after their eponymous first album. And at 68 Chrissie Hynde is still one of the most compelling voices in rock & roll. We’re not talking “can still sort of sing the old stuff”, we’re talking “good as ever”.
The line-up for this album includes Chrissie and drummer Martin Chambers from the original Pretenders line-up. It’s guitarist James Walbourne’s third album with the band since he joined the group in 2008. Every one of the tracks released so far are great. The title track has old school punk attitude, “Didn’t Want To Be This Lonely” has the Bo Diddley beat, and “The Buzz” sounds like classic-era Pretenders to my ear. But this post is about Chrissie’s singing, so give a listen to “You Can’t Hurt a Fool”.
Had it not been for the pandemic, the album would have been released earlier this year, and the Pretenders would be on tour. But making the best of a bad situation, Hynde and Walbourne took inspiration from Bob Dylan’s release of his new album to do some home recordings of Dylan covers. This cover of “Standing in the Doorway” is gorgeous. I think Bob should give this song to Chrissie and James for keeps.
After this year’s cancelled tour, the Pretender’s website teases at concert date in late September 2021. To get you ready for their return, here’s Chrissie belting out the anthem “I’ll Stand by You” just 12 months ago.