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Pretenders II

Pretenders II

June 1, 1981
4.1 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 25, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Please note: This review is written for the 2 CD deluxe edition.

I finally broke down and bought this reissue. I purchased the boxed set (which is essential if you're not going to rebuy their albums). The concert did it for me. It gets a fifth star (the orignal album rated a four and 1/2)for the live show.Enhanced with a second CD with the bulk of the concert the band played in Santa Monica, CA in 1981 (I wasn't there but I did want to go--couldn't get tickets at the time)along with a some wonderfully clunky demos for "Talk of the Town", an outtake/demo version of "I Go To Sleep" and a remix of "Pack It Up" that repeat the experiment that Lennon did for "I Am the Walrus" and "Glass Onion" incorporating random radio ads and programs. It's bizarre and truly only something that Chris Thomas might actually consider worth releasing.

This version of the album is the keeper if only for the concert alone. This terrific follow up to the band's first album had a few weak songs but overall carried on developing the band's sound (and Hynde's songwriter muscle). The only thing missing here is the take of "Precious" which was released on the "Talk of the Town" EP just prior to this album's release. We do get a live version of "Precious" here but if I'm not mistaken, it's a different version entirely from a different show.

The only thing I dislike is that the two CDs slide into the cardboard sleeve without any protection. The booklet is nice with complete lyrics, an overview of the recording and where the band was at the time along with some really cool pictures. I'll probably break down and buy the first album as well (my other favorite Pretenders album aside from the third "Learning to Crawl").
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Format: Audio CD
OK lets get one thing straight. This is a great album--of course it can't compare to the debut, but what can? The original Pretenders were one of those rare bands where all players figure prominently into the final sound. (Listen to how you can hear Pete Farndon's bass in almost every song) Chrissie's songwriting is still great, Martin Chambers and James Honeyman Scott are in fine form. Message of Love is just a flat out great rollicking(that is the word that keeps coming to mind) single, The Adultress and Jealous Dogs keep rockin' right where the first record stopped. Birds of Paradise and The English Roses are beatifully written and performed songs comparable to Kid from the debut. But my favorite song and one of the Pretenders finest tunes has got to be Talk of the Town--gorgeous driving melody and wistful lyrics with that Chrissie Hynde stamp "Oh but its hard to live by the rules, I never could and still never do"
In 20 year hindsight there are some weaknesses that I can reluctantly admit--Some critics have rightfully accused Pack It Up as self parody (but it still sounds cool), a second Kinks cover in as many albums, and as one astute reviewer noted, Bad Boys Get Spanked is a re-write of Tattooed Love Boys. (But check out that Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry sample)
In 1982 Pete Farndon was kicked out of the band for being unreliable and two days later James Honeyman Scott died of a coke induced heart attack thus ending the original band. Eight months later Pete Farndon also died. (In his bathtub with a needle in his arm) One of the most tragic wastes in rock history-- There are only two cds featuring this extremely talented and versatile band so kids, chemistry like this doesnt come along very often and this second record is a nice followup to the debut.
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Format: Audio CD
Sometimes reissues are worth plunking down money for, and this is one of them. The packaging and sound are great, disc one is the album as originally issued (no extras), and the extras on the generous disc two are good to great (most of it is a vintage live show, with a couple of demos and outtakes at the end of the disc). The live stuff is pretty hot and sealed the deal on my satisfaction with this purchase. To the reviewer who complained about the cardboard album jackets, i often have the same problem: sometimes they scuff the disc or the disc is hard to get out without damaging the sleeve - I think i found the solution. Since the packaging is slightly oversized, if you go get a packet of paper cd sleeves (available from a number of places on the net, like Bags Unlimited), they should fit into the pocket and protect the disc, and allow for easy removal and protection of the disc. i've had to do this with several 'mini-lp' reissues and the Pretenders reissues have jackets big enough to accomodate the sleeves without any trimming. (I also recommend upgrading to the 2CD reissue of the first album, too - Rhino did a bang-up job on these. The Box set (Pirate Radio) is also quite good).
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Format: Audio CD
I love this re-release of Pretenders II with its bonus disc of many live classics from a great band! It is a must have, I can't get myself to take it out of my car's CD player now that I have it there. Every day is a great listening experience!

It is weird reflecting on this, because back when this was first released as an LP I was hoping The Pretenders could blow me away as much as they did when their debut LP was released. But that wasn't a realistic expectation. And I was overly critical, feeling they need more songs like The Adultress (which reminded me of The Wait) and less like I Go To Sleep (which I felt the commercial success of Brass In Pocket distracted them from their real calling). Yet I have come to see that the music on this CD also stands the test of time, just as their debut does. The first two LPs were classics, of a band with the greatest of potential which suffered a tragic short career together. The two discs capture this, and are a must have for any music lover.

The Pretenders were a great, GREAT band! And they still are (have you seen The Pretenders & Friends on VH1?)!
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