STORY BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER/For 21st Century Media
Throughout her three-decade plus run as frontwoman for UK new wave rockers The Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde has never made any attempt or pretense to be anything other than herself. It’s there on display over an unparalleled collection of truly brilliant records, confirming the fact that the singer is also one of contemporary music’s greatest songwriters, while possessing a voice that can easily melt your heart and then put it back together again, often within the same song. It’s strange then that it took her all these years to release a solo album.
This past June saw the release of Stockholm, her first solo effort which Hynde will be supporting at the Tower Theatre this Tuesday. Well, it’s a “solo effort” in name only, something the singer was quick to point out in a statement.
“It’s the first album with my name on it,” she said. “But it’s not a solo album. In fact, making this album was more of a collaboration than any Pretenders album ever was.”
And though Hynde doesn’t consider Stockholm to be a solo album, it certainly has the vibe of an energized debut by a vital artist, one who gives voice to the disaffected while celebrating the undeniable power of a classic love song, a night on the dance floor, honest authentic rock n roll and other things that make life worth living. It’s been six years in the making, which was also the time when the last Pretenders album, Break Up the Concrete, was released to mixed, though mostly positive reviews.
Taking its name from the city in which it was recorded, the eleven track Stockholm was co-written by guitarist and producer Bjorn Yttling of Peter, Bjorn and John and features contributions from Neil Young, John McEnroe and Joakim Ahlund of the Caesars. Hynde has likened her discovery of the Swedish capital city, and the new group of musical cohorts it offered her, to the very beginning of her musical career, when she first emigrated from Akron, Ohio to London in the 1970s.
“There was so much mutual discovery, except this time around we weren’t putting together a band with the aim of conquering the world,” she said. “We were just [expletive] doing it, making this album. But the way I fell in love with London as a teenager, which to me was just like falling in love with a person…I didn’t expect to get that from Stockholm. But I did. It has all the elements you want from a city and its music scene: nothing’s phony or contrived and we all felt that. And it comes across in the music.”
IF YOU GO
What: A Night with Chrissie Hynde: Pretenders and Stockholm in concert. The Rails are the opener.
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 4.
Where: The Tower Theater, 69th & Ludlow in Upper Darby, PA
Info.: Call (610) 352-2887 or visit www.ticketmaster.com