Pretenders: Alone review – Chrissie Hynde still a magnificent one-off


What was originally intended as a Chrissie Hynde solo album finally appears, packaged as a Pretenders release, with the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach aboard as producer. A cadre of Auerbach’s country and blues pals – including Duane Eddy, contributor of autumnal twang to the indigo-tinted love song Never Be Together – create a 50s-style rootsiness that suits Hynde very well. Forever parrying toughness and profound vulnerability, she has found empathy in Auerbach’s retro torch arrangements. The old saw about age being nothing but a number finds its true expression here: at 65, she’s ferociously autonomous, extolling singlehood with the title track’s primitive rockabilly strut (“Nobody tells me I can’t / Nobody to say ‘You’re doing it wrong’”). Reserving the right to change her mind, she is then infused with new-relationship excitement on the cascading ballad Let’s Get Lost, while I Hate Myself not only revels in drawling self-loathing (“I hate these perversions of the heart”) but makes it sound appealing. Always a one-off, Hynde is magnificent here – unapologetic and deferring to no one.


Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Chrissie Hynde: Stockholm review – Pretenders singer's sassy solo debut
Chrissie Hynde delivers her first solo record, and in parts it casts some of the same magic she used to with the Pretenders, writes Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

05, Jun, 2014 @8:30 PM

Article image
Billy Bragg & Joe Henry: Shine a Light review – Essex to Carolina on railroad songs

Dave Simpson

22, Sep, 2016 @9:30 PM

Article image
Chrissie Hynde: Valve Bone Woe review – offbeat jazz with rock star cool
Hynde’s album of covers is inviting and interesting, thanks to her insouciant attitude

Rachel Aroesti

06, Sep, 2019 @9:30 AM

Article image
Chrissie Hynde review – too few mercurial moments
Hynde’s husky drawl tilts into pealing guitars with heartrending effect, but new tracks are mid-paced chuggers that plod along, writes Ian Gittins

Ian Gittins

17, Dec, 2014 @3:58 PM

Lambchop: Mr M – review
Kurt Wagner dives deeper into weary, stoic melancholy than ever on Lambchop's latest album, writes Maddy Costa

Maddy Costa

16, Feb, 2012 @9:15 PM

Tom Jones: Spirit in the Room – review
It's hit and miss stuff, but Tom Jones's second 'gravitas rock' album covers plenty of suitably tasteful bases, writes Michael Hann

Michael Hann

17, May, 2012 @9:30 PM

Article image
Chrissie Hynde – Stockholm: album stream
Be among the first to hear Chrissie Hynde's first solo album, and let us know what you think of it

Guardian music

02, Jun, 2014 @3:30 PM

Article image
Chrissie Hynde review – a far from memorable Meltdown performance
Hynde is rarely more than businesslike as she mixes new compositions, covers and a trawl through her back catalogue, writes Betty Clarke

Betty Clarke

15, Jun, 2014 @12:44 PM

Article image
Chrissie Hynde: ‘It's hard work being alone. Paintings are an outlet'
The Pretenders frontwoman has been defying musical expectations for 40 years. Now she is pursuing her passion for art

Jude Rogers

04, Nov, 2018 @12:00 PM

Article image
Rufus and Martha Wainwright review – quirky, magnificent festive blowout
Chrissie Hynde, Neil Tennant and Sophie Ellis-Bextor joyously topped up the Wainwright siblings’ big-hearted Christmas fundraiser, A Not So Silent Night

Ian Gittins

08, Dec, 2019 @11:36 AM