The Pretenders demonstrate how less is more with 11th album, Hate For Sale. We think it’s pretty perfect.
The Pretenders kind of missed out on being a punk band, which may, or may not, be a good thing
And in some ways, it wasn’t exactly clear where they fitted into the landscape, even though they wrote some catchy tunes – Kid and Brass In Pocket were on serious rotation in our teenage bedroom.
Since then, they’ve been well off our radar – we’d kind of moved on. Or so we thought.
But, this week they released Hate For Sale and, oh, wow. As an indicator of what rock and roll should sound like, then you don’t need to go a lot further than this 30 minute demonstration of how to make your point succinctly and with class.
It has everything you need to know in 10 x 3 minute chunks. It’s all here and, yet, all different.
There’s swagger (Junkie Walk), no messing blues (Didn’t Want To Be This Lonely), a ballad (Crying in Public), a Blondie soundalike (The Buzz) and even a bit of reggae (Lightning Man).
The killer track is the first, the title track. Perfect Pretenders. They even left the false start in there and then give us a gloriously short, power chord heavy reminder of why The Pretenders are just so good.
Chrissie Hynde will be 70 next year (bloody hell).
You wouldn’t know it to listen to her voice on this release. It always did have a bit of grit and gravel going on, but that gives it its distinctive, and quite beautiful quality.
She knows what she’s doing.
As a body of work, we can imagine there were some pretty tough discussions as to what got left behind. Maybe there will be more to come in a future release.
But for now this is the absolute master class demonstration of how less is more.