Pretenders | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Never mind her bad-girl stance and her somewhat emotionless public mask: Chrissie Hynde has had what in a rock 'n' roll way has to be considered a storybook career. After the requisite unhappy childhood in Ohio, she took off to Europe, ending up in London just in time to watch a scruffy Kings Road shop owner make a rock 'n' roll star out of a vile child named Johnny Rotten. (Rotten came within a whisker of marrying her to give her British citizenship; instead he sent Sid, and Hynde balked.) Her first album made her an icon. Then she had a baby with Ray Davies, who is apparently considered a dream date in certain circles. Her new, the defiantly titled Last of the Independents--one of those Pretenders records she bothers herself to put out every three or four years--is not without interest, mostly for the "Middle of the Road" rewrite called "Night in My Veins." But ballads like "977" and "I'll Stand by You" (with its big, "We Are the World" arrangement) don't have that feeling of newness they need, and "rock" workouts like "I'm a Mother" or "Rebel Rock Me" don't try to be much more than what they are: old new wave for the VH-1 set. Thursday, June 2, 7:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Simon Fowler.

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