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Break Up the Concrete

The PretendersAudio CD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

Price: $16.82 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 11 Songs, 2012 $8.99  
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Over the years, the Pretenders became a vehicle for guitarist/vocalist Chrissie Hynde's songwriting, yet it was a full-fledged band when it was formed in the late '70s. With their initial records, the group crossed the bridge between punk/new wave and Top 40 pop more than any other band, recording a series of hard, spiky singles that were also melodic and immediately accessible. Hynde ... Read more in Amazon's The Pretenders Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 7, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Artist First
  • ASIN: B001CVCB94
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,048 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Boots Of Chinese Plastic
2. The Nothing Maker
3. Don't Lose Faith In Me
4. Don't Cut Your Hair
5. Love's A Mystery
6. The Last Ride
7. Almost Perfect
8. You Didn't Have To
9. Rosalee
10. Break Up The Concrete
11. One Thing Never Changed

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Think of this long awaited studio album as if it were the first Pretenders record: musical turf that's defined by attitude, lyrical and melodic mastery, and the unexpected...and Chrissie Hynde's voice as you've always known it. "Break Up The Concrete" is an authentic slice of rock Americana, ranging from blistering punk to the most delicate storytelling as told by the queen of rock royalty herself.


"Best album of 2008 there isn't a a single bad track on the country-tinged Break Up the Concrete. Chrissie Hynde is as in-your-face as ever but there's a glint of humor here that I don't remember. Also, the best song I heard all year is on this record: "Love's A Mystery." --Stephen King - Entertainment Weekly

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Pretenders are For Real October 7, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I want to be clear: This is not a mind-blowing album. It doesn't reinvent rock and roll or even just The Pretenders. But it does confirm and remind us why we've loved Chrissie Hynde for all these years. Great singing, song-writing, and playing. It's not complicated, and it doesn't have to be.

Like the classic Pretenders albums of the early 80s, the production is lean, this time working in slide guitars and Bo Diddley shuffles, but maintaining the sound and feel of a live band. The songs speak for themselves, and Hynde's voice and signature hard-nosed attitude come across clearly. There aren't any songs here that match up with Brass in Pocket, Back on the Chain Gang, Middle of the Road, or The Pretenders' other classics, but the songs are smart and feel honest. The album is focused and real and plays to Hynde and co.'s strengths. And Chrissie's voice hasn't lost a bit of its range or power. She'll always be THE greatest woman in rock for my money.

My only complaint about The Pretenders is that I wish they (well, she, really) were more prolific. It'd be great not to have to wait so long for Hynde to give more of her singular talent to the world. So, in short, I think this a good, solid album, one that will appeal to longtime fans, even if it doesn't reach the peaks of past glories.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
"Break Up The Concrete" is a flawless and diverse CD that vindicates why Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Hame. Hynde has always been the heart and soul of this band and her wondrous and versatile vocals resonate with grandeur throughout a CD that includes rock, punk, country, folk and ballads. Her voice can be as forceful as an angry punk icon and as a tender as the most ethereal angel. "Boots Of Chinese Plastic" is a compelling and frenetic hit and the highly emotional and yearning "One Thing Never Changed" is one of the greatest songs in Pretenders' history only to be topped by the endearing and gorgeously sung "Love's A Mystery." When Chrissie Hynde was busy with her vegetarian eatery in Akron, Ohio she also managed to somehow even enhance her sound as the greatest front-woman in Rock and Roll.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I knew I was going to love this the moment that I heard the first track was called "Boots of Chineese Plastic". For a brief moment, I hoped that she had done some sort of back-handed cover of Dylan's "Boots of Spanish Leather". Then I started the disc and was smacked in the face by the Pretenders stompin, rockin, blisteringly tight playing. They tear this music up--all of it--like this is their first and only chance to get heard. Not all the tunes are as in your face as that first track, but in every circumstance, this band is committed to delivering great music. How many bands with the longevity of the Pretenders can put out a disc this good? Not many, folks, not many.

Check out the wonders that this music holds: sharp guitar playing, driving drums, really melodic bass parts, and holding it all together, Chrissie Hynde's vibrato, alternatively husky and plaintive, round and full as an overripe plum, dripping with anger, sadness, and an all-knowing sense of understanding of itself. Chrissie understands that she makes the music something more than it is on paper when she sings.

Do you love the Pretenders already? Well then, you've probably already bought this disc. Go ahead and get a second copy to give to a friend. Do you like "Brass in Pocket" but haven't thought much about the band since the 80's? Well, give this a little chance. This is too good to miss.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Chrissie Hynde, thanks for keeping it real.
The music is exceptional, everybody is tight, loose and together.
Lyrics just as brilliant.

I know I mentioned the guitars and the vocals..but don't let anyone know
but the drummer was brilliant too.

The mastering on this incredible. This is the best sound quality
I have ever heard from a standard cd.

great great album..nuff said.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NO PRETENDING HERE... October 10, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
When I heard that Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders were releasing a new album I was excited.Bought it and am so happy I did...I always respected Chrissie and appreciated all the great rock she has given through the years.This album is filled with the traditional sound of Chrissie throughout.The mid-tempo rockers and slower Chrissie style ballads...capturing the old style Pretenders with a modern twist.If you are a Chrissie Hynde/Pretenders fan,there is no reason not to buy this one.It rocks...My personal faves are Boots of Chinese Plastic,The Nothing Maker,Don't Cut Your Hair,Love's A Mystery,The Last Ride,Rosalee and Break Up The Concrete.Pretty much every song.Just to tell you how rich an album this is...Rock on Chrissie...Glad you are back...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Has its moments - 3 1/2 stars October 10, 2008
Format:Audio CD
I really want to gush over this, but alas... how about half of it?

I saw them 2 years ago (with Martin Chambers aboard) and there is no doubt Chrissie still has it and then some. But history is history, and myself being a longtime fan, how do you top the 1st three releases (P, P-II, Crawl)? No group could maintain that level of consistency. I think this release is typical of most of her work since (excepting Isle of View, a great live release). There is a lot of really really good stuff, a couple classics/great ones, and some songs that are certainly good but to be honest, forgettable. I think overall the lyrics are strong. The musicianship is fine. For me, too many of the songs just don't stand out in the arrangements or melody. This disc certainly has a good mix - rockers, ballads, stompers. And lots of pedal steel. Oh, and Jim Keltner (yay).

A quick track by track (clearly subjective and open to debate) omitting titles for brevity: 1 - Boots is classic. uh-1-2-3-4... Turn it up! 2 - a ballad and I like this one quite a bit; not classic, but moody and lyrically strong. 3 - Bluesy. just ok, will probably skip this one a lot. 4 - very good raucous stomping bo diddley/rockabilly number. we've heard it before but it still sounds good. 5 - I love Love's a mystery.. It just hits me right. great melody, simple yet smart lyrics, good pedal steel. 6 - quick paced acoustic number; good piano fills. very listenable but is this really memorable? a great example of what I'm trying to get across - good, can't criticize it, but I want more than good. 7 - I keep listening to Almost Perfect and on one hand think 'wow, this is great' and on the other keep feeling 'what the heck is missing'??
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretenders still 'ROCKIN !
Totally impressed ! We play it almost every day !! A few Christmas references don't hurt either around the holiday season.
Published 9 months ago by Andrew Knall
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't stop listening
I LOVE virtually every track. Her incredible voice is still getting richer. The melodies, the instrumentation, the sentiments expressed - all superb. Hope there is another new one! Read more
Published 21 months ago by lauriecacao
5.0 out of 5 stars Break up the Concrete ~ The Pretenders ~ Worth it!
SI have been listening to this all wekk and it is smashingly good. Boots of Chinese Plastic sets this album up as a keeper. ciao, michael
Published on March 20, 2012 by StilettoShoemaker
1.0 out of 5 stars Angry old women!
Wow this is by far the worst Pretenders album ever. Pure crap from start to finish. The amazing thing about this album is you keep thinking two things, first is ok when is there... Read more
Published on November 5, 2011 by David Disch
5.0 out of 5 stars She's Backkkkkk!
Back in the late '70's and early '80's, I was a die hard Pretenders fan. Saw them at least 7 times in those early years, including the original band. Read more
Published on September 3, 2011 by doggroomer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pretenders Sing the Blues
Chrissie Hynde has an amazing voice and this CD is no exception. I bought the CD for "Break Up The Concrete" after hearing it on an episode of House, and I am so glad I did. Read more
Published on March 27, 2011 by JJohns
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to the old days... GREAT!
A nice mix of older sound and newer themes, lyrics (chinese boots made of plastic!). Good to hear Chrissie is still going strong and can always deliver. Read more
Published on July 8, 2009 by Arnaud Guerrand
5.0 out of 5 stars A stretch that works well
I like this record very much, all of it but especially the Country tinged tracks. Yes, Love's A Mystery is strong, but The Last Ride is simply great song writing. Read more
Published on June 11, 2009 by Dale J. Bjorklund
4.0 out of 5 stars A Case of Alchemy
How do you still make music 30 years on ? When your time of cultural relevance and commercial success has long gone ... Who are you making your music for ? Read more
Published on May 20, 2009 by English Rose
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Effort from the Pretenders
I was not a big Pretenders fan back in their heyday. I liked them well enough but they were not at the top of my list and I don't recall buying their albums. Read more
Published on April 3, 2009 by dcolumbus3
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boots of chinese plastic
I agree. I thought this was from some release I missed: i.e. a "classic". No! This is now!
Sep 6, 2008 by Craig Awmiller |  See all 5 posts
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