Great Rock Albums of 1981: The Pretenders II
Maybe they thought that because it worked for Van Halen, it would work for them. That is having their first album self-titled and then calling their second one “II.” Whatever the motivation, that is exactly what The Pretenders did. Now my weird imagination has me speculating the result of David Lee Roth and Chrissie Hynde having a child together. Strange yes, but he or she would probably have a great singing voice and know how to work an audience. Anyway, let’s put my imagination back in the closet and focus on the album at hand. One thing I can say about this second album from The Pretenders is like Van Halen and even Boston, the second album follows on nicely from the first and like the other two bands, if the first two albums were available as a single pack, I would buy it.
Like I said, Pretenders II follows on very nicely from Pretenders I. That first album breathed a fresh air of new wave music into the scene in 1980 and it seems that since that worked so well for them a year earlier, they would follow suit with this one. I have to say that it works very well. Hynde’s vocals are in fine form on each song on the album and the rest of the band gives their full support. There are a few well timed guitar solos from James Honeyman-Scott although I’m not going to add him with some of the greats. What surprised me when I explored the background to the album was although the song I am most familiar with, “Talk of the Town,” was released as a single, it doesn’t seemed to have charted. The one single that did was “The Adultress,” which made it to number 12. Another reason I never paid too much attention to the Top 40 charts, I suppose, although I wouldn’t take anything away from “The Adultress” because it is a fine song. Other tracks that really stand out for me are “Day After Day” and “Birds of Paradise.” Another amusing point is I, like many other people, thought the final track, “Louie Louie” was going to be a cover of the sixties classic. Now normally when I a song doesn’t sound like I expect it to, I dislike it out of sheer disappointment but that closing track doesn’t disappoint, it’s a decent closer.
1. The Adultress
2. Bad Boys Get Spanked
3. Message of Love
4. I Go to Sleep
5. Birds of Paradise
6. Talk of the Town
7. Pack It Up
8. Waste Not, Want Not
9. Day After Day
10. Jealous Dogs
11. The English Roses
12. Louie Louie
Chrissie Hynde- lead vocals, guitar
James Honeyman-Scott- lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Pete Farndon- bass, backing vocals
Martin Chambers- drums, backing vocals
In 1980, The Pretenders brought a fresh sound to music and in 1981, followed it up with a good second album. It has been argued back then that part of the success of this album was down to disco finally being laid to rest in 1981. There may be some truth in that but it only proves to me that while some genres come and go, rock and roll will never die. The Pretenders spear headed the influx of new wave that would come to light in the early 80s.
Next post: Stevie Nicks- Belladonna
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