Originally issued in 1980, Pretenders signaled the arrival of a major new talent. Lead vocalist and writer Chrissie Hynde sings with enough passion, authority, and style to leave no doubt that you’re hearing a bona fide original; ditto her band, which plays fast and frantic and uses just a handful of chords to prove that it has an abundance of tricks up its sleeve. Best cuts include “Precious,” a scalding Hynde original, and “Stop Your Sobbing,” a vintage Ray Davies number that boasts an enveloping Nick Lowe production and a fascinatingly moody Hynde vocal that seems redolent of the best of Ronnie Spector’s work.
If you missed the album the first time around, don’t make the same mistake twice. This terrific two-disc reissue includes an excellent remaster of the original recording, plus a 16-track bonus disc that delivers demos of such classics as “The Wait,” “The Phone Call,” and “Kid”; live versions of songs like “Mystery Achievement” and “Precious”; and noteworthy non-album tracks.