Shaggy-haired, defiant Chrissie Hynde fronted The Pretenders for nearly 30 years, a rock band that dominated the 1970s and 1980s, with the guttural voice of you always remembered. Her voice sent shivers down your spine with "a voice half-way between Elvis and Dusty Springfield”—according to The Art Desk’s Russ Coffey.
And since the band's foundation, she's been the only member to stay the entire time. So to see Chrissie without a Pretender in sight is odd to say the least.
As rock royalty, she married and divorced former Kinks Ray Davis, commanded respect with the ethereal when belting out "I'll Stand By You," and gave little girls a strong, female musician worth looking up to when dreams started spinning in their heads.
Coffey claims that while the fan's praising assessment of the single "Dark Sunglasses" doesn't quite live up to the rebellious mid-Eighties, "it's not far off." And even the less aggressive tunes, such as the more pop "You or No One," still leave you imagining "her lip curling around the microphone."
While the music sags on middle tracks such as "In A Miracle" and "House of Cards," the best display of that raspy voice appears best in the beginning and end of the album. Especially when Neil Young's electric guitar and Hynde's voice meld together to sound "rocky and seedy" for "Down the Wrong Way."
And that's not the only surprise since she pulls the same trick with tennis legend John McEnroe on "A Plan Too Far."
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer called in star power to appear on her album but the most surprising element revolved around her producer: she didn’t know him.
In “Chrissie Hynde, of The Pretenders Fame, Goes Solo,” Brian Powell says the former Pretender had no idea who Bjorn Yttling or his work in the band Peter, Bjorn and John. Her attitude in choosing someone to work with is pretty simple. “My attitude is: You never know until you try it. But I’m never going to go through someone’s back catalog.”
The lack of prior knowledge offers the chance to try anything without any kind of expectations. And that’s how Neil Young appeared. “I’d grown to really like messing with Bjorn, so I thought I’d just ring Neil and ask if he’d play on.” She continues, saying she normally doesn’t call up the famous musician since “you don’t call God and ask him for a favour.”
Will she tour with Stockholm? That’s an interesting question for the Akron, Ohio native turned Londoner. “Who’s going to want to see a vintage artist play 45 minutes of new material?”
“Stockholm” releases on Tuesday, June 9, 2014.