Pretenders: Last of the Independents

May 10, 1994 – Pretenders: Last of the Independents is released.
# allmusic 3/5
Last of the Independents is the sixth album by the Pretenders, released on this date in May, 1994. The single, “I’ll Stand By You” was nominated for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal in the 37th Annual Grammy Awards.
The band is officially credited as being Chrissie Hynde (vocals, guitar), Adam Seymour (guitar), Andy Hobson (bass) and Martin Chambers (drums). However, this line-up only plays together on one track (“All My Dreams”); the rest of the album is performed by Hynde and Seymour in conjunction with a rotating series of musicians on bass and drums. These musicians include Hobson and Chambers, as well as bassists Andy Rourke, Tom Kelly and David Paton, and drummers Jimmy Copley and J.F.T. Hood. A few other session musicians also appear, including Ian Stanley, and one-time Pretenders guitarist Robbie McIntosh, who plays alongside Hynde and Seymour on “I’m a Mother”. The album also marked the official return of Chambers, who had been fired by Hynde eight years prior.
Alternative Press (8/94, p.90) – “…Hynde actually sounds like she means it again. Up there with Costello’s BRUTAL YOUTH–artistic rejuvenation of the year…”
Musician (6/94, p.79) – “…Atop musical settings ranging from pop to funk to rockabilly, Hynde outswaggers all comers, from Anais Nin to Camille Paglia to Thelma and Louise, with her tough-to-tender switchbacks…an inspired, combo-punching return to her inimitable peak form….”
Mojo (Publisher) (1/95, p.51) – Included in Mojo’s “25 Best Albums of 1994” – “Ballsy rock-chick attitude, sturdy four-square rock-outs and big, anthemic ballads…”
Talking tough and truly, women rocking the hard side continue to rise in number and authority. Veteran no-bullshitter Chrissie Hynde leads her Pretenders to a new plateau. True to Hynde’s straight-rock muse, Independents is standard black-leather issue; its distinction lies not only in its honesty (a Hynde hallmark) but in how its tailor stretches the form to include both muscle flexing (“Rebel Rock Me”) and unsentimental caring (“I’m a Mother”). A knowing vocalist (her phrasing rivaling Dylan’s), Hynde handles the hots (“Night in My Veins”) as surely as she nails devotion (“I’ll Stand by You”) and like any master, makes it all seem easy.
Heirs to Hynde by way of the Runaways, L.A.’s L7 are righteous riot grrrls. Chief songwriter Donita Sparks and company kick inter-gender butt by means of power chords and grunge abandon. But they also flash humor (the chugging, twangy “Riding With a Movie Star,” with its single, repeated lyric) and accord respect (a tribute to drag racer Shirley Muldowney). “Fuel My Fire” and “Questioning My Sanity” are more typical L7 – blackboard-scratching guitars and vocal snarls – and they are smart, hard neopunk.
Produced by Atlanta’s Jermaine Dupri, the force behind junior rapsters Kris Kross and soul queens Xscape, Da Brat’s debut is a brassy charmer. With the title track, Windy City native Shawntae Harris throws down bright, clean rap with pop appeal. But she’s just as much fun when she gets bold (“Da Shit Ya Can’t Fuc Wit”) or rhapsodizes about herb (“Fire It Up”). (RS 698/699)
“Hollywood Perfume” (C. Hynde, Billy Steinberg, Tom Kelly) – 3:55
“Night in My Veins” (Hynde, Steinberg, Kelly) – 3:15
“Money Talk” (Hynde) – 3:38
“977” (Hynde, Steinberg, Kelly) – 3:54
“Revolution” (Hynde) – 4:32
“All My Dreams” (Hynde) – 3:12
“I’ll Stand by You” (Hynde, Steinberg, Kelly) – 3:59
“I’m a Mother” (Hynde, J.F.T. Hood) – 5:18
“Tequila” (Hynde) – 1:13
“Every Mother’s Son” (Hynde) – 3:41
“Rebel Rock Me” (Hynde) – 3:08
“Love Colours” (Hynde, Steinberg, Kelly) – 4:32
“Forever Young” (Bob Dylan) – 5:04

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