Stockholm Syndrome with Chrissie Hynde

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There has been a lovely revival of that indie-punkish-new-wave vibe that was once ubiquitous at any good dorm party back in the late 70s and early 80s. It’s coming from new artists and also from those who created that sound back then.  Some crew from The Romantics, Blondie, The Chesterfields, and The Cars recently got together as The Empty Hearts and put out a brilliant album that proves the sound is timeless when it’s done well.  Blondie has a new release as well and a good one—even Elvis Costello has come out with some new punchy stuff.  So who’s missing? The Pretenders for one. 

The Syndrome

Chrissie Hynde’s second solo album, Stockholm, will partially fill the gap left by the absence of The Pretenders if you give it a chance. Live with it for a while and you may come to really like it. Björn Yttling and Joakim Åhlund are the major collaborators. Two of the best songs on the album are those with Joakim Åhlund: “Adding the Blue” and “In the Movies.” Solid songs. “Adding the Blue” is the perfect example of the Stockholm syndrome this album delivers; whatever your first reaction to that tune, it may turn into your notion of the best song Chrissie Hynde has ever sung.

Songs like “In a Miracle” and “You or No One” are excellent and would have been apt Pretenders tunes.  There’s another level here though, too. “Dark Sunglasses” is a pretty serious tune, somewhat like Lennon's "How Do You Sleep" in some ways. Then there’s “Down the Wrong Way” with its reiteration of The Rolling Stones “Mother’s Little Helper” issue, though with a current twist: “mother’s little pills gone down the wrong way.” “Like in the Movies is another eyes-wide-open tale, just one of the gritty tunes that make up this new album. 

No Need Pretending

This is about as blunt an album as one might produce. Whether she’s laughing like a child in “A Plan Too Far” or screaming something absolutely real about today, she’s got it. Don’t expect anything and blare it.  High, high volume and open ears.



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