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On: Dealing With Other People.

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2010 by thenewserials
People Suck

The Truth is usually written in black and white

To anyone who knows me its no surprise when I say: “I don’t like other people” Hell, I don’t even like myself that much. That’s not to say I hate everyone, it just means that when confronted with new people its more often an experience that doesn’t lead to any lasting (good) impressions.

In my head I chalk this up to being because ‘other people’ are unreliable and uninteresting but, the other part of my mind likes to be a little more reasonable and accepts that maybe the problem lies within myself somewhat.

The first issue is that I missed the pop culture boat. When I was younger I just didn’t care about listening to popular music or anything. I spent the week in the city with my mother and went to school (which ultimately resulted in watching 90’s sitcoms and PBS) and the weekends in a more suburban area relaxing (which consisted of mostly talking and playing games). What was hot on the charts didn’t really come up unless it was some sort of sweeping phenomenon like Michael Jackson. So when I entered middle school and high school I was behind on the Jonses.

The Second was that I had no interest in catching up. By the time I was high school people were established in their artist and 99% of them consisted of what was on the radio at the time. It wasn’t until my second year of high school til’ I discovered the Pretenders and totally immersed myself with their music. In the four years of high school I caught myself up on some near 30 years of music, I didn’t have time to get into the ludicrous reaggeton and rap crazes. This of course made me the odd fellow in school, not to mention my homosexuality (which became the craze at some point but, even then I wasn’t very interested in other people), the odd fellows in the school still weren’t my friends.

Ultimately I didn’t care anymore, I had been alienated from people my age over what interested me, alienated from the Gay community cause I didn’t share anything in common with the general community and the same for the Black community. My life as a recluse really was solidified.

When I went to college I didn’t think it would be more interesting, and it wasn’t. I didn’t need to interact with anyone anymore and there as no one to interact with anyway. My specific taste in music and culture still was putting me at odds with people. Except this time people were more understanding about it. instead of flat out rejection I got a series of slow rejection, whether it was people pitying me or just generally losing interest in trying to figure out my habits over time I don’t know but, the general pattern was meeting someone who was interested in me in then in 6 weeks tapering off into barely speaking.

So at this point in life, I’ve given up on other people, if I meet someone interesting I’m jaded enough  to know that patterns exist for reasons. The Human race is a slave to its previous actions, they’ll never move away from the things they’ve done because its a scary thing and with the world they’ve created there’s good reason to fear a lot of things.

 

Twitter.com/KeithBCovingon

Facebook.com/Raganork8

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On: Long Periods Without Writing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2010 by thenewserials

You would think that having two personalities in my mind would make me more prolific with writing that’s not the case however. For weeks at a time (sometimes months) I will have nothing of any interest to say about anything. Sure something will happen in that time but, no one really comments on this blog anyway so there’s no reason to share with the world if the world isn’t looking.

Don’t take that as a guilt trip, it’s simple logic.

However on occasion I will think of something I think is important enough to share with the people who do come across my blog, and then I blog. My last blog post are some of the easiest to put down. I love music so sharing my experience with new and/or live music is something that comes easily.

What doesn’t come easily is a way to make the banal routines of my life come alive for you all in this blog.   Writing isn’t a challenge per se but more of a required discipline that I  haven’t totally gotten down. It comes to me in waves, sometimes as small as a tide and sometimes as large as a tsunami.

This doesn’t only apply to my blog  but, also to writing a book or short story, I have to be in a very specific mood in order to get anything down. And even then I tend not to write a whole lot in one day, sometimes I’ll pull our a page or two and be content with that because when the feeling goes…it’s gone.

The frightening thing about writing a blog is that everyone who reads it seems to expect some sort of consistency, I have friends who blog once a month on the same day every month, or vow to blog twice a week or some schedule but, I’m not able to stick to that sort of thing. As soon as writing becomes a ‘job’ so to speak, where I have to worry about getting it down in a certain amount of time or fear the deadline, I lose a boatload of interest.

I know, that’s real life, right? Sure it is and I didn’t say I wasn’t able to do it but, I just said it’s no longer as fun for me. I like to take my time and even be lazy. I spend every waking minute thinking about writing, how I want something to look and how I want it to be presented on the page and whatnot and when I get to the execution I get there.

This blog is more of a twisted therapeutic sort of engine for me to work with, I get to write whenever I want to and share it out to the world. Sure the lack of comments and viewers sometime annoy me but, that’s not really the big issue. The issue is filtering through the packing peanuts in my mind to find the really fragile things and bringing them into some sort of like in reality.

With two people in my mind constantly trying to find a way to appease each other there’s often a lot of interesting stuff that gets cut on the editing room floor. I just can’t express EVERYTHING sometimes, mostly because I think a lot of what I say is common sense, but I’m not a common guy and this isn’t a common world and so maybe I ought to consider getting over my personal misgivings with my writing and just put it out there.

I often have this vendetta against artist, like painters and sculptures and cartoonist; maybe not a vendetta but a jealousy because for them the final product of the art is there and can be beheld with the eye. For me I have to then embark on a new journey to get people to read what has taken me a year to write and thats the hardest part of all.

You would think that people would be jumping for joy over the fantastic like: Dreams and the damaged infrastructure in the mind of a semi-psychotic but, people really aren’t. Maybe they think it’s silly or overly-dramatic but, no one cares that much and in some degrees neither do I. I’m still entertained by very simple things like Soap Operas. I watch All My Children everyday as if it were something that will feed my starving stomach. It’s one of the few things that both my personalities will agree to doing but, who wants to sit here and read about how much I dislike Ryan Lavery or think Marissa Tasker needs to buy a clue.

Maybe someone, I guess but, often I don’t feel like it’s a worthy subject to start ranting about in a blog.

I guess part of me still feels like I’ve stumbled into this writing thing, Like maybe I don’t deserve to even be doing it. I love it though, I just like taking my time as well, maybe if i had an actual job writing I would think differently about it but, as of now I don’t. And even when I worked for my school magazine I waited til submission day to do something and it was still pretty good.

What I need is for someone to take me seriously, seriously enough so that we can work together. I work fine alone but, I think ultimately I feel comfortable if I have someone to bounce ideas off of and craft together with. I’ve been alone all my life so maybe that’s why.

I should write a comic book and work with an artist (maybe that would ease some of the jealousy) and put it out one day. That sounds like it could be a barrel of monkeys!

Now let’s see if anyone’s interested…

Twitter.com/KeithBCovington

Facebook.com/raganork8

Review: Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2009 by thenewserials

Big Budget, Small Thinking

If it don't blow up, make it!

Oh god, it’s that time of the year again, the sweltering heat, the undeniable urge to run out of the city, the lack of air conditioning and of course the million dollar budget movie with no plot whatsoever.

Fulfilling this years requirement for the latter is Michael Bay’s Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. With critic reviews as scathing as they come in this business Revenge proves to be critic proof, the huge success of the first film and the legion of die hard fans of the cartoon series ensured that this film would be a huge success but, what did that mean for the idea that the movie would be banal and without any REAL substance? It meant of course it was true! Michael Bay is able to take a relatively good story of intergalactic war into a two and a half hour orgy of explosions, kiddie jokes and some off-‘colour’ (pun intended) humor. Revenge of the Fallen is a movie that doesn’t try to be any better than a series of high gloss special effects and moment after moment of over the top self righteous explosions.

The action is high paced and never ending making it at least purely a summer action movie and at best an annoying two and a half hours of Shia lawhogivesadamn running around trying not to get killed (probably both in character and as himself) from Michael Bay’s Myriad of explosions.

The story is almost nonexistent, following some crazy idea that Sam (Shia Labouf) has miraculously incurred the location of a hidden gem the Transformers hid in Egypt some umpteen million years ago. All to stop the first Transformer known only known, cryptically, as “The Fallen” (now the name has a double Meaning!) from reactivating a machine that will blow up the sun and give the Fallen energy to do something that is inevitably not good for any of our hero characters and something something something….darkside.

Its amazing how much this film can try to beat out a plot that’s not there, symbols and military units and Transformations that seem like a lego factory has exploded right before your eyes. The film doesn’t take time to pace itself at any point, its gratuitous CGI effected fight scene after gratuitous CGI effected fight scene. Its all fun in the start because the CGI is horribly good but, after two hours of almost non-stop explosions you kinda want a moment of peace and quiet to take in all the chaos Michael Bay has constructed (if one can accuse of him of actually having a plan in this movie)

The acting is…well its Shia Labauf and Megan Fox in the leads so this isn’t going to be Citizen Kane, they’re acting which is good but, not very well which is…bad. Most of their lines consist of screaming the others name  I can imagine the screenplay for this film: “SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM!”  Yells Megan Fox “MikaelAAAAAaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” yells Shia, then the biggest Effin Explosion you’ve seen in your LIFE! The supporting actors…support, though they’re useless to the nonexistent story anyway so who really gives a damn?

Despite having a weak story Michael Bay manages to pull out an amazing feat…With almost no story he completely riddles his movie with the most GAPING plot holes this side of 2007’s Premonition. There are stark inconsistencies from the first movie, and then further continuity issues within the film including but, not limited to, characters suddenly disappearing, entire scenarios changing for no reason, and iffy effects. Anyone who can coherently explain the details of this film must be so strung out on Ritalin that even Limbaugh would be in awe.

I won’t go into details but, Revenge of the Fallen isn’t the worst movie ever made, the action is still fun but, not enough to save the film. Its a summer movie and don’t go in expecting to be engaged in a story driven plot. This is Michael Bay’s “Kiss my ass” moment to all of his united nay-sayers, its hard to believe that in this day and age a movie with nothing going on can cost millions of dollars and make it back within a few days, it goes to show you that no matter how sophisticated we get at telling stories, we’re still just cavemen entranced by fire.

Grading:

Story: C –

Action:  B+

Music: B-

Acting: C

Overall: C-

Skip it if you really can, the ten to twelve bucks you’d pay are better used on buying yourself a train ticket to somewhere where this movie doesn’t exist.

Still Around and a round and a round and…

Posted in Bored Stuff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2009 by thenewserials

Sitting in this room right now, I’m very bored, it’s only 8:00 a.m on the dot.

I have a final to do today and I’m not in the mood.

O.k.

So there are three guys I really like and I want to date all three of them but, there are provisions to each of them.

The first is the one I like the most I think but, I don’t want to further over-complicate things with him. I mean it’d be nice to re-enter a relationship but, it wasn’t working when it ended and in doing this I could putting a nail in the coffin for any future prospect of being friends or getting along.

The Second is someone else I really like but, I fear a relationship with him. I know that if anything were going to wrong it could really implode anything good we’ve ever had going.

The third is just some guy I have a crush on. He’s smart, funny and very good looking, he’d be the most different person I’ve dated but, I don’t think he’s interested and if he is then he’s already involved with something or someone.

So I don’t know what to do, at this time I want the third guy the most because there’s less danger there and honestly he’s just so damned cute I just want to pinch him.

I’m just not the dating type, I’m interested in guys but, I’m not good at being proactive with them and when I am I get rejected 90% of the time. It’s always the right guy but, ALWAYS the wrong time. I really don’t want to spend months dating and going through rejection there’s honestly not enough going on in my life to let something like that in.

I wish I was drop dead gorgeous, I wouldn’t have this problem and I could move on but, Alas I’m not so that’s a dead dream.

The other thing that really frustrates me is that NO one I ever am attracted to ever makes the first move, it seems that I’m only attracted to guys who are nervous and shy or not interested in me. This is obnoxious to a high degree, I wish ONCE a guy I like would just say “hey lets go out on a date” Do you know what I would do? A back flip, I’d do a back flip, I can’t even touch my own toes but, if that happened I would do a back flip.

The other two guys are good guys but, one is just going on with his life without me and the other is…a case study. There’s so much right and wrong with him. He’s got a lot of good qualities but, he offers no kind of excitement whatsoever. Whereas the other guy I could have a banal conversation with but, it would become something more interesting through time but, with this guy the conversation will depend solely on me the entire time and it’ll go nowhere because nothing is going on with him and thusly he doesn’t have anything to really say.

It’s days like that where I miss my first BF, not that he was a good person or anything but, he was always interesting and knew what to say to make me excited and interested.

Its all a bit disheartening. I’m always the one in control, I’m the one people go to to make the plans to get everything going and that plays out in everything I do, so I hold on to this dream that one day I’ll have the relief of having someone come over and take control if only for a moment and just say “Hey, Let’s do this I like you”, maybe I’m intimidating, which won’t make sense, the only people I can intimidate are people who are already “in”.

Maybe soon who knows what’ll happen in the future, for now I’ll have to take it one day at a time and just get through these finals so that I can even get a grade for this semester, I really shouldn’t have waited this long to do them and now I’m on a mad dash to complete 4 papers in 25 hours.

If only this third guy would come through!

Enough of that; there were a few things I wanted to get across in this post, seeing that I don’t have the discipline to write once a week you may not see another post for a year!

– Terminator Salvation: Good movie, not perfect, not T2 but, then again what is? The first half wasn’t bad, it was introductory, I know we know terminator but, this is the first time being in the future after Judgement day, somethings have to be explained. The middle was good and the end was great, at moments there I thought iI was watching a Cameron film. Some noteworthy mentions include: Sam Worthington’s acting he’s good, he’s very good, he’s the movie, he is the strength of all the scenes he’s in. Sam Worthington’s Face, what can I say, watching him on screen was helped by his cute face. Christrian Bale, He does it again, he plays this incarnation of John in a different way but, it makes sense to the story and he makes a good hero. The Action, very good in a lot of ways the action in this movie was the opposite of Watchmen, it wasn’t superflous, it usually served the story and only one scene seemed Gratuitous and long. Arnold: The Cameo was better than I could have thought of. The Music: i liked it, and I don’t like Danny Elfman.

– The Pretenders, coming back to the U.S. late summer, Maybe a show in Central Park, *fingers crossed*

– 24, what a great season definately up there with seasons 1 and 5, can’t wait for them to start shooting in NYC for season 8!

– PS3, I like my PS#, I like the features I like Killzone 2, I’m glad I got it!

The Pretenders At the Roseland Ballroom

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2009 by thenewserials

Pretenders

Roseland Ballroom

01/30/09

The Pretenders continued their “Break Up the Concrete” tour on their second stop in N.Y.C. at the Roseland Ballroom and like every show they didn’t disappoint.

The show began with an opening band named “American Bang” and whomever decided to skip the opening act just to see the Pretenders made a grave mistake. They were rockin’ and strutting like any good rocker could. They proved that classic rock and roll is not the only in the past.

“I just met Chrissie last night…” The lead singer commented during a small break in songs. “…you guys aren’t the only one”.

After their short; but, explosive set the Pretenders took stage and command. Starting out with “Boots of Chinese Plastic” The Band proved once (and hopefully for all) that they are not some wash-up 80’s band fighting for relevance. As Hynde strutted on stage throughout a great many guitar changes between her and lead guitarist James Walbourne, she seemed in great spirits. The Second song “Don’t Cut Your Hair” was dedicated to all the “Guys in the audience” and it blasted off with the same vigor and mature attitude as “Boots Of Chinese Plastic”.

“It’s always great to be in NYC” Hynde said with a large smile. “…this is the ‘Talk of the Town'”

and the band launched into the Pretenders II classic. “Message of Love”, “Don’t Lose Faith in Me” and “Love’s a Mystery” followed with great fanfare, aptly underscored by Eric Heywood’s steel guitar work.

“Back on The Chain Gang” only suffered from a severe case of nostalgia, clearly showing off Hynde’s mastery of writing and the band’s mastery of their art.

“It’s good to see you again!” Hynde exclaimed to the front row, and to my surprise she was actually speaking to me, she smiled and then went on. “This is a song by an amazing Song writer from Ohio” and the band promptly rocked out to the Robert Kidney tune “Rosalee”.

Here’s where James Walbourne shows off his chops, ripping a solo to shreds and making it seem easy at the same time. The band seemed comfortable as always playing the song, laughing and enjoying themselves as much as we were enjoying them.

“The Last Ride”, another tune from the new album followed and while it was slower and quieter it was nontheless just as masterful as anything else and easily one of the best written songs on the album.

To the joy of many of the old fans who came for a bout of nostalgia and familiarity “Stop Your Sobbing” “Day After Day” and “Don’t Get Me Wrong” came with strong abusiveness from the band. Suddenly The Pretenders seemed to be getting rough with their playing and even the sweet songs were beginning to feel more rock, almost to the point where one didn’t know what was going to come next.

The first surprise of the night came in the song “Tequila” that many older fans will know. First appearing on an album in 1994’s “Learning to Crawl” “Tequila” is one of the first songs Hynde had played with late Bass Guitarist Pete Farndon. The song was then recorded with nearly every line-up of the band from there on. The song came in with a great deal of confusion to most of the people at the Roseland Ballroom; but, not without enjoyment. The slow verses are perfectly combined with the rough and tumble bridge “Miles baby, hundred highways and truck-stops I’ve used/cause baby hundred of cars have passed and refused!” For all those, big fans and smaller fans alike “Tequila” was a rare gem dug up and won’t be soon forgotten.

“Thumbelina” followed next and James Walbourne again got to show off just why Chrissie chose him as her new lead guitarist. He takes the old Robbie Macintosh solo and tears it a new hole, so to speak, with great skill and attitude.

“Brass in Pocket” came and went a great song; but, no where near the impact of any of the other songs. Most people come just for this one song and really miss the entire point of the shows.

The second surprise of the night came with “Bad Boys Get Spanked” the Pretenders II song had been performed on the last tour; but, for some reason it felt like the first time it was ever played last night. Martin Chambers finally blasted off into the stratosphere rocking the drums to the point that Chrissie seemed to be in the WAY of my viewing his amazing mastery of his instrument. To watch him is to watch the best of the best, do better than you could ever expect.

The THIRD surprise came with “Tattooed Love Boys.” Chrissie looked at the front row and said: “this one is for you three right there” and again I was shocked to see her referencing myself and two of my friends to my right. I was sure what to expect; but, the familiar three note lick that James Honeyman-Scott played thirty years ago, snapped me back. It had all the rough and tumble that one can recall. and the Audience was on its toes singing along with Hynde. “I went apewire, because I thought that I liked it/little teast; but, I didn’t mean it/ but you mess with the goods doll and you gotta pay…yeah!” Martin Chambers again showed that even though he’s 57 he’s still got the energy and wickedness of someone half his age. James Walbourne rocked the solo and before you knew it the fire on the stage reached a climax with those three ending words. “You…are…that!”

The band did one more song on the list the title track “Break Up The Concrete” Hynde and co. Easily demolished the song with her “dak dak dak daka daka” and the band pulsating Bo-Diddly beat.

The band came out for two encores The First featured the original Pretenders hit “Kid” and the second was “Precious” the hardest rocking song in show business. John McEnroe joined the band for “Precious”.

The Second Encore featured the punk classic “The Wait” which knocked the audience on the floor. and the last song of the night was the best surprise of all.

“Up The Neck” rounded out the show with such beauty and harshness, that it left everyone praying for one more song.

In the end the message is clear. Not only have the Pretenders still got it…They’ve never lost it.

Overdue Review: The Rezillos “Can’t Stand The Rezillos. The (Almost) Complete Rezillos”

Posted in Overdue Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2008 by thenewserials
Punk Gets Smart!

Punk Gets Smart!

Can’t Stand The Rezillos. The (Almost) Complete Rezillos is one of the best albums you can buy at any record store.

Prefaced with that; this review will probably end up being a long gushing period of how much I personally enjoy this CD. It has humor; it has class, it has a song about the best T.V. show of the period (Thunderbirds!). There’s nothing not to like on this album except that the booklet shamelessly announces that the live version of “Destination Venus” had to be omitted (damned ‘time constrictions’!). Still there’s something to be desired by the album, in a good way, after listening to this album you just want MORE Rezillos.

The Rezillos had a signature sound; like many of the best bands out there, but, they’re a unique kind. The Space propaganda/punk/new wave sound is something that doesn’t happen to often. Clearly being thrown from the 50’s and 60’s the Rezillos bring the ‘old future’ to music and do it in the humerous way that allows for laughs and good rock music. A friend of mine said: “The Rezillos are like an edgier B-52’s” and he was very right. “Rock Lobster” is now “Flying Saucer Attack”.

The band is such top form that it’s hard to believe that it can get any better than what they are at the time. John Callis on Vocals nd Guitar, Simon Templar on Bass, Angel Paterson on Drums, Eugene Reynolds and Fay Fife on Vocals, William Mysterious on extra Bass and Saxaphone and Gail Warning on backing Vocals, help make the album an expirence.

From the first track “Flying Saucer Attack” in which Fife tells the story of our universal neighboors coming down to clear out our skylines (“Tell everybody to run and hide because the end is near at hand! Flying Saucer Attack, I’m never coming back, oh oh oh until it’s over), to the last track “Mystery Action” where Reynolds energetically states about a woman “She’s never far away; but, she’s always out of sight” and everything in between is full of a band playing at their best and loving every moment.

Another unique quality to the album is that most of the songs are covers from the 60’s pop era; given a smack of punk rock at it’s best. This isn’t the monotone punk that deserved death at the end of the 70’s this is the punk that you MISSED when it left.

From start to finish it’s hard to pick a favorite song; this album isn’t dominated by the popular “Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight”, the album contains catchy tune after catchy tune and none of them let up with the rock. There’s not one ballad on this album and it never seems rushed. Every moment of every song seems classic from the opening of “It Gets Me” (“You suddenly don’t like words you talk so much it’s uncool) to the barrage of anger in “Bad Guy Reaction” (“Oh do think I’m stupid, don’t ever try to put me down!”) you find yourself entranced at how diverse and fun the album is.

The second half the album has the Rezillos live; which is a testemant to their good work; the listener is treated to the familiars(my baby does, good Sculptures), some newbies(Teen Beat) and some old  non-Rezillos Classics (Land of a thousand Dances and I need you). There’s not a moment to be missed and there’s nothing else to say in this review except; go get the damned thing if you haven’t got it yet.

Rating out of 10

10/10

Overdue Review: The Pretenders ‘Packed!’

Posted in Overdue Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2008 by thenewserials
The Pretenders 5th album in their legacy

The Pretenders 5th album in their legacy

In 1990 Chrissie Hynde returned to the studio to record her fifth Pretenders album: Packed! No longer backed with any of the former Pretenders from Martin Chambers to T.M. Stevens; Hynde settled for a series of talented session musicians to fill in the Pretenders name.

Packed! is probably the most ironic of the Pretenders album names; seemingly because the album isn’t packed with much. All in all Packed! is a heavy album that suddenly; before recording, got light.

Many will find this next statement wrong: Packed! is the best album (in intent) since Pretenders II; but, the worst in execution. I say that for a number of reasons. The first is that it sees Hynde out of the dreaded ‘1986 fatigue’ where everything became new wave/punk. She’s back in her element creating rock music not, immediately, influenced by anyone. The second is that the repertoire of songs on Packed! are the most diverse since Pretenders I, their first album, from dreamy ballads like “Let’s Make a Pact” to dark, unsentimental rockers like “Dowtown (Akron)” to groovy Reggae like “How Do I miss You” Packed! is packed with a lot of different ideas.

However Packed! is not without it’s fair share of problems. At best Packed! is fatigued and sad sounding, even when it’s supposed to be uplifting or badass. Hynde seems to be interested in what she’s performing; but, just not ready to perform it. Packed! sees Hynde a little less restricted as well on this album. One of the joys of Hynde is that she always seems to know when to give enough, never too much, never too little. There’s a restriction there that works in their favor. No matter what she does she always seems in control. On Packed! she lets herself go a little more; songs like “Millionaires” see Hynde belting on notes here and there and they don’t sound bad; but, for Pretenders followers it’s a bit of a surprise to see her do so much on a record; there’s works and fails in ways. It’s a nice new thing to revel over; but, the genius of control seems to be gone. Another ‘issue’ with Packed! is the sometimes lyrical value of it; For example “No Guarantee” has Hynde singing and rocking out; but, if one is prepared to say her writing is above par; then their willing to say they know what she’s talking about. Again it’s not bad; but, different and in a new direction.

The last two faults of Packed! are ones that would be corrected after the album with the live set The Isle of View and their next studio album Last of the Independents. The first is the session players: Billy Bremmer, Blair Cunningham and John Mckenzie appear of the album credits the most and they along with the other musicians are great players; but, they’re not a band. Bremmer adds some much needed continuity to a new band because he previously played on “Back on the Chain Gang” and “My City Was Gone” from the album Learning to Crawl; However, the band feels like session players playing for a talented artist. Nothing wrong with that; but, that’s not what a Pretenders album was. The other problem with the album is the Producer Mitchell Froom is probably a great producer; but, Packed! is not his best attempt. At times the songs seem lazy and he opted into the idea of using the airy echo sound that was dominant at the time for every song and it doesn’t suit the band well at times. Most of the time Packed! feels as if Hynde was performing it whilst half sleepy and in a daze.

Many Pretenders fans debate which is the least favorable album Get Close or Packed! and their really isn’t any answer to that question, Whereas Packed! was full of good ideas and lackluster production, Get Close was full of different Ideas and better (but not the best) production. It really comes down to how you view an album: on intent Packed! is the superior album; but, on execution Get Close proves to more formiddable.

All in all both albums are still better than most; and Hynde’s genius, even if slightly dimished, is still greater than the sum of her peers.

Packed! is an album that will have people thinking “What if?” What if the album was produced better; what would it sound like? Breifly we recieved a glimpse at this on the Isle of View where “Criminal” is performed acoustically and with such poetry and beauty that it solidifies that Packed! wasn’t just another album. Also years later Pirate Radio, the Pretenders box set, would contain an “alternate” version of Hold a Candle to This”; which would prove to be much better produced and sees Hynde with much more enthusiam and a few lyrical changes that better suit the song. Listening to that makes me really wonder if there’s a better produced version of Packed! somewhere, and if there is…

Are we ready for it?

Rating out of 10

8.3/10