Beginning with an elastic beat, “Dark Sunglasses” might have heralded a next-gen moment of pop-song modernity for Chrissie Hynde, except that the rest of it has all of the haunty, ball-busting attitude you’ve come to expect from every great Pretenders track going back to the 1970s.
Except … this isn’t that. Instead, “Dark Sunglasses” — a nervy put-down song that quickly reestablishes Hynde as rock’s reigning tough girl after a quiet period going back to the Pretenders’ Break Up the Concrete back in 2008 — heralds her first-ever solo release. That’s not to say she’s going it alone on Stockholm, set for release on June 10, 2014. In fact, Hynde collaborated with Bjorn “Young Folks” Yttling, of the indie outfit Peter, Bjorn and John.
It’s just she’s not putting out her own songs and calling them Pretenders songs anymore. That’s been the case, really, since the drug-related deaths of originals James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon. (Honeyman-Scott, for instance, co-wrote the Pretenders’ breakout song “Brass in Pocket.”) By the time 1984’s Learning to Crawl appeared, both the guitarist and bassist had passed, and Hynde would compose every original song herself. The Pretenders never had another charting hit, save for a 1986 cover of Meg Kenne’s “Hymn to Her,” written by anybody else.
That’s why Hynde has called Stockholm one of the most collaborative albums she’s ever done. Besides Yttling, guests on the new album also include Neil Young — who earlier released a scorching duet version of “All Along the Watchtower” with Hynde on 2000’s Road Rock, Vol. 1: Friends and Relatives.