“By the way, you look fantastic...”The Pretenders’ latest release, Break Up the Concrete, hit stores today. This is the band’s first studio release since 2002’s Loose Screw. Of course I rushed right out to get it and I gotta say I am lovin’ it.
As the face and voice of the Pretenders for the past 25 years, Chrissie Hynde still has the band sounding like they did on their debut so many years ago. Break Up the Concrete’s 11 songs were recorded in 12 days, making for a gritty album that recalls the band's earliest days. Chrissie’s voice still snarls and the sarcastic bite of “I shot my mouth off and he showed me what that hole was for...” hasn’t aged at all.
The change on this album is its nod toward rockabilly. The majority of the tracks feature Eric Heywood on steel guitar. Heywood has played with roots artists such as Alejandro Escovedo and Son Volt, so you figure he knows his way around a pedal slide guitar. The other Pretenders on this disk are guitarist James Walbourne and bassist Nick Wilkinson. Jim Keltner, who worked with the Beatles on several of their solo albums, is the studio drummer, although longtime Pretender Martin Chambers will be the touring drummer.
Tonight’s music is “Boots of Chinese Plastic,” the album’s first single and a powerful album opener that definitely hearkens back to the early days of the Pretenders. The other song, “I’m Not in Love,” is a cover of the 10CC song. It’s not on Break Up the Concrete; the Pretenders cut it for the 1993 film Indecent Proposal. Although it’s not a rocker a la the new song, it’s still a great version and something you might not ordinarily hear.
Boots of Chinese Plastic.mp3
I’m Not in Love (10CC Cover).mp3
If you're agoraphobic, you can go here to buy Break Up the Concrete.