The Pretenders – “Holy Commotion” (Singles Going Steady)

Twinkly synths, jangling guitars, and Chrissy Hynde's voice as strong as ever? Count me in.

Adriane Pontecorvo: Twinkly synths, jangling guitars, and Chrissy Hynde’s voice as strong as ever? Count me in. “Holy Commotion” is a simple, straightforward renewal for the Pretenders, a group that has always managed to spin catchy choruses into rock and roll gold. It also makes it clear that upcoming album Alone isn’t a nostalgia bender. This is a band that wants to move forward with the times, and won’t be satisfied resting on its laurels. An earworm with a kick. [9/10]

Andrew Paschal: Chrissie Hynde’s vocal delivery is simultaneously smokey and light, alluring and free, summery and mature. “Holy Commotion” is a refreshingly old school rock number in some ways, yet the electronic gradient whirring throughout adds a contemporary playfulness. The song seems at first to revel only in an innocent debauchery, but it sets its sights on lofty and heavy goals, envisioning “no more rape or torture or mutilation.” The Pretenders want to dance their way to utopia, and they can hardly be blamed for trying. [7/10]

Chris Ingalls: Dan Auerbach’s rough-but-fresh production gives the music a nice shot in the arm. There’s plenty of hooks and the instrumentation is busy but not overstuffed. I like the bright, ’60s girl group vibe. Hynde’s voice sounds as good as ever, and while I wouldn’t go so far as call this a return to the James Honeyman-Scott/Pete Farndon heyday, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. [8/10]

Paul Carr: The Pretenders call in the production talent of Dan Auerbach to help them mine for pop gold. Fortunately, the result is a shimmering slice of retro future blues with a ’60s pop twist. Auerbach has an uncanny ability to create oddly familiar sounding melodies that are the perfect backing for Chrissie Hynde’s casually carefree vocals. Some might criticize it for playing a little safe but the addictive chorus more than makes up for it. On the whole, it signals a new style for the band yet manages to be reassuringly familiar at the same time. [7/10]

Scott Zuppardo: The Muddy Waters picture on the piano in the beginning of the video is pretty much the best part. Too bad they didn’t play any of those guitars on the racks or hanging on the walls of the studio. Robot music wins again… obvious attempt at relevancy. [3/10]

Pretenders’ new album Alone releases 21 October and is available for pre-order now.

SCORE: 6.80