Odd. Just really – really – odd. Why a solo album now? I mean most (all) of The Pretenders albums have been about Hynde, her voice, her songs, her strut – and, when she had it, her effortless coolness. And, when she had them, her hooks.
It’s one of the crueller ironies that a debut solo album over 30 years into a well-regarded music career is where the evidence of a rut is obvious; where, more than that, the actual rot has set in – or, put another way, this is where she actually sounds like she’s pretending.
There’s barely a decent song on this – and any that do stand a chance have to crawl through the wet cement of blandness that is Hynde’s now colourless, bored voice and arrangements that want to ape the clever/correct pop song approach but just sound like tracksuit pants.
Everything’s a bit muffled – and when Neil Young’s guitar kicks on out during Down The Wrong Way you just wish it had been a good song. He makes it nearly worth listening to, but if it didn’t have a good ole Old Black solo on it the song wouldn’t even register.
Before that the interminable Like In The Movies feels more like she’s written a song too late to appear on the soundtrack to Notting Hill rather than one that alleges to mock that sort of sentiment.
Shitty lyrics, and just a huge aural blandness are this album’s biggest problem – and they’re huge problems. Absolutely. Also Hynde – in wanting to try to sound almost hip just sounds sad. And bored. Really, really bored. But the weirder thing to ponder is simply why? Always why? She’ll be back with “the band” after this to do wineries. And the hits. Anyone claiming to love this album or to profess to hear anything resembling a type of charm from it will likely be suffering from the syndrome best associated with this album’s title.
And it ain’t worth it. Really it’s not. It’s just best forgotten. The songs will help with that. There’s nothing here worth remembering.