Pretenders – Back on the Chain Gang

backchaingangIn the space of one tune, the Pretenders capture that at which the band excelled: a great, poignant melody tied to touching yet tough lyrics, couched in a dynamic sound-scape of delayed guitars and a snappy beat.  The song was basically a reaction to the death of original lead guitarist, James Honeyman Scott; but anyone who hears it and has lived a little can relate to it.  The appeal is universal.  We can all relate to feeling as though old times were better times; that the world today is against us, is out of control and is oh so difficult to deal with.  I love the plaintive little curlicues of the guitar that accents the rhythm guitar.  I love the oh-whoa-ohs that Chrissie Hynde sings on top of them.  And as she looks back on a relationship with someone she loved and lost, Chrissie sings from the heart.  I admire the way she emphatically conveys her sadness without sounding like a sop.

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