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I keep on going back and forth with this project like a mad bipolar woman who forgets to take her meds. I really do overreact. Basically because I WANT to LOVE it. I really do. I want to join the majority of my circle of Chrissie-loving friends who think it's an epic masterpiece, possibly the best thing she's ever done, and most of all I want to love it because she has never seemed happier than working with Welsh singer-songwriter JP Jones. Their story is a bittersweet one: with a 27 year age gap, they unexpectedly fell in love, but ultimately broke up due to Jones wanting to start a family, and at 58, Hynde can't give that to him (plus she's been down that road before) so instead they wrote songs for one another and put them on this album, thinking of it as the child they will never have. That alone is enough to make some people cringe.
There's the aspect of their age gap, which, also in itself is enough to make some cringe, but they're both adults, so I'll set that aside. What I'm more concerned about is Chrissie's 30+ year career where she just did not talk about her personal life or the men in it - ask her about it and she'll tell you to eff off, basically. Suddenly, she's not only open about how gaga she is for a man but releases an entire album about it and they publicly seem joined at the hip. I'm no psychology expert, but does anyone else find this 180 a little odd?
But make no mistake, this album isn't about her. It's more about introducing JP Jones. Jones' voice can, in my opinion, be compared to Damien Rice or Glen Hansard (of the Frames, The Swell Season) - in other words, not untalented, just been there, heard that.Read more ›
And that album is "Fidelity." It is, believe it or not, the first album Chrissie Hynde has ever released that wasn't under The Pretenders banner. I hate to say this, but it's pretty awful. The soulful, husky voice of Chrissie remains a universal wonder, and when she sings, she still sounds great. JP, on the other hand, has a range of about five notes, and has a problem hitting most of them. When Chrissie opens "Fidelity" with the lament that "I found my perfect lover, but he's only half my age," you can feel that she's still got it as she nears 60. That talent is even more emphasized as soon as JP opens is mouth. He begins interjecting observations into "Perfect Lover" that sound like some joker prank calling the studio and getting caught on-mike.
Which pretty much sums up this album. There are some pretty good songs here just aching to get out ("Your Fairground," "Courage," "Misty Valleys"), but they crash to the dirt every time JP's carny barker donkey-bray hits the speakers. Next to Rufus Wainwright's "All Days are Nights/Songs for Lulu," this album is one of the year's biggest disappointments. Mark JP Jones in your trivia book now.
The kick-off single, "If You Let Me," is a passionate, upbeat conversation between JP and Chrissie, each note a dare to the other to continue. Check out the alternate video, which is based on the cult classic film "Let the Right One In;" it's a special treat. Other tracks, like "Perfect Lover" and "Leave Me If You Must," are winsomely heartbreaking but still very engaging. This album will catch you around the waist like a flirt at a party and not let go.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not as good as I hoped for, Chrissie is someone I always admired, but this CD didn't do it for me.Published 24 months ago by RH
I had seen basically nothing but negative reviews of this CD. But, for probably a price of $.01, (I think), plus shipping, I finally broke down and bought it. Read morePublished on January 6, 2014 by IZ
I am still trying to determine what I really like about this studio release. At least I can say that it is worth listening to over and over until you get the idea. Read morePublished on March 20, 2012 by StilettoShoemaker
This review is of the Deluxe Edition, it's definitely the best option, you get 2 bonus tracks, plus a bonus dvd. Read morePublished on March 8, 2012 by Gary Covington
I loved the Pretenders and this album was okay but I have not listened to it again after my first listen. A bit of a disappointment from Chrissie.Published on October 13, 2011 by MarthaP