Jerry Elmas | Austin, TX United States | 06/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have always felt that this was a well crafted and credible work from the Pretenders. But only lately has it dawned on me how incredibly well done "Last Of The Independents" really is.Here you have the 2nd reincarnation of a great band. Chrissie Hynde has said in interviews that her strength lies in being able to bring out the best in her band mates. This is wholly in evidence here. The band here (and still the band 6 years on) are a polished, streamlined and cohesive rock unit.When James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon died many people I am sure (myself among them) thought the Pretenders were finished. Just another great band who found out that going too far and staying alive coulden't bear the traffic. There were great songs which followed over the years and some weak ones as well. That all ends with "Last Of The Independents". "Last Of The Independents" is remarkable for its variety, passion and as is always the case with Chrissie Hynde, a uniquely focused view of the modern world. On the subject of variety, I have always felt that one of Chrissie Hynde's biggest attributes was her ability to rock as well as sing the slow soft ones when called to. Listen to "Money Talk" (my personal favorite on this album) and then listen to "Every Mother's Son" and then ask yourself if that was just the same person who sang (and wrote) both. It has taken me almost 6 years to really appreciate how incredible "Last Of The Independents" really is. Sometimes great works take time to show their true worth. Given the challenges Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders have faced over the years, it is amazing that they continue to create the fine body of work they do.People might say that the best Pretenders music came in 1979 or 1980. Great as that music was (and is), Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders have evolved and survived to become one of the truly great rock bands of all time. As Chrissie now approaches 50 years old, it seems like she is looking forward, not back, to her best days.Buy this record."
Could this be the best Pretenders album ever?
Catherine S. Vodrey | East Liverpool, Ohio United States | 05/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With sundry deaths and other changes of bandmates over the years, "Last of the Independents" proves decisively that The Pretenders equals Chrissie Hynde and vice-versa. Hynde displays an equal and formidable strength, as always, for concise but telling lyrics mixed with the Pretenders' signature guitar work. The guitars alone are worth buying the album--listen for the glittery crashing sound on "Night in My Veins", the eerily subdued guitars throughout "Hollywood Perfume" (which sound as though they were played by ghosts in a wind tunnel), the tornado snarl that cracks open "Rebel Rock Me" (on which she variously channels Buddy Holly, k. d. lang, and Dwight Yoakam), and the Stones-inspired beginning of "Money Talk." How bold Hynde is to entitle a song "Revolution"--but we know by now that she is nothing if not bold, and her "Revolution" holds its own with its world-famous Beatles counterpart though they are nothing alike. "Revolution" has the same dreamlike quality of the long-ago "2,000 miles" and Hynde makes the intriguing choice of making her revolution quietly urgent instead of shouting for attention. On the very short "Tequila" Hynde allows herself to sound bedraggled, weary--as though she were singing in a nearly empty bar at 2:00 AM. There is not a single bad song on the album--indeed, there is nothing even approaching mediocre or average. Every song is a stand-out, and it's one of the crimes of the current music world that this album didn't get wider attention upon its release in 1994."
Several memorable songs, but disappointing overall
Catherine S. Vodrey | 10/26/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Notable for a few fine songs and for getting Chrissie Hynde back on tour in 1994 with a great band that is largely not featured here, this CD is for the die-hard Pretenders collector only. The Last of the Independents tour was well worth attending, with an aging Chrissie moving gracefully to focus on slower songs instead of trying to pull off the fiery sets of the 80s - perhaps a prelude to the lovely Isle of View CD. Night In My Veins is the standout rocker here, and Stand By Me is also a fine song. While several other songs may be worth a listen or two, none are remarkable - I do like having her cover of Forever Young, though. That song is worth owning if you needed to have her covers of I've Got You Babe, or Angel of the Morning. (Personally, I'll buy anything she records, and considered it worthwhile to get the Friends DVD just to see her sing the chorus of Smelly Cat). Otherwise, this batch of songs hasn't stood the test of time all that well. For those who loved the Pretenders in their youthful prime, more recent CD's have done a better job of recapturing that sound and contain better-written material. I would never recommend against buying anything that lets you listen to Chrissie Hynde's voice, but I'd recommend nearly any other Pretenders CD more strongly. Pretenders or Learning to Crawl for the early sound, Viva El Amor or Loose Screw for contemporary material.I thought it was a cute comment from one reviewer that it was bold to name a new song Revolution what with the Beatles having a song by the same name. It's not all that uncommon for song titles to be recycled, but if there's boldness to it, there was twice as much on Pretenders II with original compositions named "Louie, Louie" and "Message of Love" the latter probably superior to the Hendrix song."
The best Pretenders album.
NoWireHangers | Sweden | 06/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many Pretenders fans prefer their first, self-titled, album. In my opinion, "Last of the Independents" is by far their best album. Chrissie Hynde still has the cocky attitude from the first album, but this one is more melodic. While many of the group's other albums contain a couple of weaker filler songs, all the songs on this album are great. The song sequence is just right, with a perfect balance between the faster, energetic songs and the slower ones. It never gets dull. Chrissie Hynde's voice is as good as ever, seeming both confident and fragile at the same time. After several years, this remains one of my all time favorite albums."
Best Pretenders album that didn't come out in the `80s...
Stephen Cabral | New England | 05/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the best Pretenders album that didn't come out in the `80s. This doesn't compare with those great classics but it's still well worth owning. Favorite tracks are "Night in My Veins", "Money Talk" with some great guitar by Adam Seymour, "Forever Young" which is one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs, and the hit "I'll Stand by You" which is simply a beautiful ballad that Chrissie's voice really shines on.
I think the reason why The Pretenders albums of today don't compare with the early stuff is the songwriting. The best songs on this CD were mostly written by Tom Kelley & Billy Steinberg (the same guys that wrote "True Colours" for Cyndi Lauper and "Alone" for Heart). But I still have hope that Chrissie Hynde has one more great album in her. She still has the voice. "