Pretenders II [Bonus Disc]

by: Pretenders

The Pretenders' second album received a much-deserved upgrade in the fall of 2006, as Rhino reissued it as a double-disc set containing a remastered version of the original album on the first disc and a wealth of rarities on the second. If this bonus disc pales in comparison to the bonus disc on the reissue of The Pretenders, it's because it packs few revelations or unexpected rarities among its 18 tracks. Which isn't to say that there's a lot of familiar recordings here: all but two of the tracks are previously unreleased, but all but three are live tracks. Since the original lineup of the Pretenders was one of the great rock & roll bands of its time, these live tracks are all very good, bordering on excellent, but it's not quite the same as hearing rough demos and unheard songs, which is what makes the bonus disc on The Pretenders so good. That said, the live cuts here are all excellent, the demo of "Talk of the Town" is fine, and the alternate guitar version of "I Go to Sleep" is worth having, so this will hardly be a disappointment to those who love the album. In fact, since this lineup of the Pretenders didn't leave much of a recorded legacy behind, it's easy to argue that this is closer to being essential than being a curiosity for those who love this band. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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