The Pretenders – Pirate Radio Box Set [Rhino – $56.00]
Hardly “middle of the road”; decades after their debut in the late ’70s, the Pretenders’ sound carries nary a fleck of, “yeah, they were good, then”, been-sitting-on-the-shelf dust. The best of this band’s work, and the transitions life demands of it, is captured in this collection of 81 tracks and 19 videos, and it’s so well crafted, so rock era-defying, it could very well shake your shelf ’til it comes crashing down. Chrissie Hynde, with her sweet, slow vibrato that has a touch of rough grain in it, may be the best rock vocalist for generations. Her timing and expression is such that she could step into virtually any music genre and belt it out. Indeed, Hynde could stand alongside the likes of great country singers like Patty Loveless and Tricia Yearwood and hold her own — she’s that good.