PRETENDERS II is an excellent album when appraised on its own merits, but does fall a little short in recapturing the magic of their
fantastic debut. I can vividly remember hearing the entire album debuted on an Albany, NY FM station in August 1981 and was quite
excited about this release. My initial feeling at the time was that the album started quite strong, but the songs on the second
half were't quite as potent, yet still enjoyable.
Once you’ve located all of those reasons why PRETENDERS II isn’t equally as powerful as their debut, you may also begin to realize
that it is still quite a fine record. The early singles “Message Of Love” and “Talk Of The Town” are obvious highlights. Chrissie
Hynde’s lyrics are still quite alluring on the opening cuts “The Adulteress” and “Bad Boys Get Spanked” or even wryly amusing on
“Pack It Up”. “Day After Day”, a song about the seemingly never ending grind of touring, is another fine hard rocker showcasing
some nice guitar work from James Honeyman-Scott. The ballads “I Go To Sleep” and “Birds Of Paradise” are so mellow they could
easily serve as lullaby’s, but provide some balance to the album.
Time has only made me grow fonder of this album, especially given that this was the final artistic statement by the original
incarnation of The Pretenders lineup. Losing Pete Farndon and James Honeyman-Scott both to drug overdoses within a year still seems
unfathomable. There was a wonderful chemistry here within the original band that would be forever lost to us with these dual
tragedies. Therefore, I'm thankful to have this final full length album to mark the final days of the original band.