The best solo albums allow us to hear an artist in a new way. They build on our preconceived notions, based on everything that happened before, even while determinedly moving away from a legacy band sound. “You or No One,” the latest advance release from Chrissie Hynde’s June 9 project Stockholm, does just that.
As much as the previous “Dark Sunglasses” sounded like a nervy update of her classic Pretenders aesthetic, this one is different, free of expectations — just free. Hynde sings over a frisky beat, with an unself-conscious confidentiality, with fragility and passion and raw openness.
Strictly speaking, this is no more of a solo album that the average Pretenders album back in the day, since Hynde is collaborating musically with producer and co-writer Bjorn Yttling, of the indie popsters Peter, Bjorn and John. And certainly, as “You Or No One” ascends towards its impossibly sun-streaked finale, those dots get connected.
But there’s something else going on here, something more elemental. Free of the pressure that almost certainly follows anything with her legendary band’s name attached to it, Chrissie Hynde is exploring new textures, new emotions, new places. And that, really, is what solo albums are about.