Pretenders

Don't Get Me Wrong

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"Fourteen classic tracks," proclaims the cover of this discount-priced compilation, and given that the recordings are drawn from the Pretenders' 1979-1990 catalog, that's a fair description. But although every one of those tracks was released on one or the other side of a single in the U.K. and/or U.S., this is not an album of 14 hits. The leadoff song and title track, "Don't Get Me Wrong," reached the Top Ten in both countries; the final song, "Brass in Pocket," was a British chart-topper and U.S. Top 20; and the cover of the Persuaders' "Thin Line Between Love and Hate" was a chart entry in both countries. Otherwise, this is an album of lesser-known Pretenders songs, either also-ran A-sides like "Never Do That" and "Sense of Purpose" or favorite early tracks like "The Wait" and "Tattooed Love Boys." The live cover of Barrett Strong's "Money" is a fairly obscure non-LP B-side that Pretenders lead singer Chrissie Hynde caustically dedicates to the bands who played the US Festival as well as those who didn't because they weren't offered large enough fees. While the jumbled sequencing leads to sometimes odd juxtapositions between earlier, harder-rocking Pretenders tracks and later, more melodic ones, this is a good selection of material, reflecting the overall consistency of the band's output. Just don't buy it looking for a hits collection.

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