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Rhino presents

The Pretenders: Greatest Hits (2005)

"Gonna make you, make you, make you notice."- Chrissie Hynde

Stars: Chrissie Hynde
Other Stars: Nick Lowe, Bono, Rosanna Arquette, Kate Pierson, Lemmy, Don Letts
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult language)
Run Time: 01h:15m:01s
Release Date: 2005-06-07
Genre: music

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ A-B+B+ C+


DVD Review

The Pretenders got their start in the late 1970s, but really exploded upon the music scene in the early 1980s with their self-titled debut. After nearly two decades of hit songs and albums, the band's stardom reached its peak in 2005, when they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The Pretenders: Greatest Hits chronicles the best music videos and a couple of live performances as well. I've always been a bigger fan of The Pretenders' lesser-known tunes, such as Stop Your Sobbing and Kid, and have a hard time listening to their more commercial tunes like I'll Stand By You. Fortunately, this new DVD features a nice mix of both types of the band's songs, hopefully opening casual fans' (who haven't heard the older material) eyes to just how deep their music and songwriting goes.

The Pretenders have always towed a fine line between indie rock and commercial success. They definitely began on the indie circuit, taking the music world by storm with the edgy songs Precious, Tattooed Love Boys, and their best effort to date, Mystery Achievement. Keeping their music original and unique was difficult, but they managed to pull it off in subsequent albums. It wasn't until the early 1990s that their first overly commercial song, I'll Stand By You, became a massive hit, turning many of their die-hard fans off. They persevered, though, with 2002's Loose Screw putting them back on the indie music map, as they mostly returned to their roots.

Like many rock bands, The Pretenders have battled many internal hardships, including the deaths of two band members to drug overdoses. This has always been lead singer Chrissie Hynde's outfit, though, and her strength and raw talent is the main reason they continue to make music, despite the difficulties. She wasn't perfect, though, which was evident by her frequent run-ins with police, which, combined with the aforementioned deaths, made The Pretenders a social mix between The Doors and Spinal Tap at times.

The Pretenders: Greatest Hits features the following songs:

Brass in Pocket
Message of Love
Don't Get Me Wrong
I Go to Sleep
I Got You Babe (UB40 & Chrissie Hynde)
Night in My Veins
Spiritual High (State of Independence)
Talk of the Town
Stop Your Sobbing
Hymn to Her
2000 Miles (Isle of View Version)
Breakfast in Bed (UB40 & Chrissie Hynde)
Sense of Purpose
Middle of the Road
Thin Line Between Love and Hate
Back on the Chain Gang
I'll Stand By You

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: These videos are presented in their original full-frame format, with most of the newer clips exhibiting crystal clear images and sparkling colors. The older segments look better than anticipated, with the age of the source material yielding some faded colors and soft images, but almost all grain and other print flaws have been eliminated.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The audio is available in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and the videos' original PCM mix. Purists will love the PCM, but the 5.1 track brings many of these older songs to new life. The surrounds are very active, and tight, aggressive bass is usually present, but the newer songs feature slightly wider dynamic range and just a bit more overall punch than the older tunes.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+ 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Music/Song Access with 22 cues and remote access
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only extra feature is the 47-minute documentary, No Turn Left Unstoned, an excellent look at the history of The Pretenders. Front woman Chrissie Hynde does most of the talking, as she reflects on her career and the various peaks and valleys that the group has gone through.

Extras Grade: C+

Final Comments

The Pretenders are one of the most consistent, talented rock bands of all time, and more than deserved their recent induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. See for yourself with this new collection of videos of their best songs. Fortunately, this DVD does the songs justice, presenting them in solid video transfers, excellent audio, and a nice, comprehensive documentary as well.

Chuck Aliaga 2005-06-07