Friday, 27 February 2015

My Top Ten Pretender Songs

Every now and then I do a Top Ten where the Number One is so obvious, I wonder why I'm bothering. Let's all pretend we don't know how this will end up (although we can start taking bets on which version I pick) and focus on the journey rather than the destination.

Special mention, of course, to The Pretenders. If only they'd done an eponymous song...

10. Alisha's Attic - Pretender Got My Heart

You know I'm struggling to fill out the 10 song remit (it does occasionally happen when I set myself these challenges) when I end up stealing songs from the Bridget Jones soundtrack. But I used to dig Alisha's Attic back in the day, and it was either this or Out Came The Wolves... which might have been a bit too loud for some of you (though probably not Kelloggsville's other half).

9. Dr. Dog - The Pretender

When I first heard Dr. Dog's name, I assumed they'd be a hardcore rap act. Actually, this is quite a mellow little American alt-rock tune... I've no idea what it's all about, but it's got some cool guitars and nice harmonies. And it goes a little bit mental at the end. All good.

8. Joe Purdy - The Pretenders

Delicate Americana... the sort of thing Chris Martin nicks his best ideas from. Doesn't appear to be a tribute to Chrissie Hynde & co.

7. Kate & After - The Pretender

I now very little about Kate & After, and the internet isn't a big help. Not even sure how this one ended up in my collection... a free magazine CD? Anyway, I think they're Swedish (the lead singer's called Lindquist) and this appears to be from their 2012 debut album. Pretty cool.

6. Madonna - Pretender

This sounds very tinny compared to the lush (over-)production on much of her later work, but it holds a special place in my heart even though it's a bog standard pop song that I wouldn't even give a second listen to if it was recorded today by... I don't know, Miley Cyrus. But I was 12 when Like A Virgin came out, and though I didn't buy the album till years later, that was a very impressionable time.

Plus, Madge needs our love this week after that tumble at the Brits. 

5. Jackson Browne - The Pretender

At his best, Jackson Browne sounds like the great meeting between East & West... the Eagles meet Springsteen. Very classy song that uses up just about every rhyme you can imagine for the title word.

4. Foo Fighters - The Pretender

In which Dave Grohl takes on Benedict Cumberbatch in riot gear. I think. And then somebody opens the elevator doors from The Shining. (Watch the video.)

3. Beautiful South - Pretenders To The Throne

A great "lost" Beautiful South single, never featured on any of the band's studio albums, this sees Paul Heaton leaving your town because it's dragging him down... but where will he end up? A lot of famous cities are name-checked, along with a cheeky mention for Heaton's place of birth...
Is it Dublin with its culture and its wit?
Madrid with its market square?
Paris with its bustling cafes?
Or Hull with its musical flair?
That's almost as classy as when Jeff Lynne managed to crowbar his hometown (Birmingham's Shard End) into ELO's All Over The World...
London, Hamburg, Paris, Rome
Rio, Hong Kong, Tokyo,
LA, New York, Amsterdam,
Monte Carlo... Shard End
2. First Aid Kit - Master Pretender

From my favourite album of last year. More about that here, in case you missed it.

1. Freddie Mercury - The Great Pretender

It takes something to record a better version of any song than Roy Orbison did... but Freddie managed it. One of the first singles I remember buying, this is camper than a winter of discount tents and very possibly his finest non-Queen moment (although Bryan & Roger have tried to reclaim the performance under the Queen banner as part of their latest cobbled together cash cow). In many ways, it's one of the most honest performances of Fred's career... and he looks pretty damned cool without the moustache...

We're all great pretenders... can you pretend to be interested enough to leave a comment?


  1. Well I love the Foo Fighters, and I love Freddie Mercury, but think the others may be pretending to be good enough for your top ten...not that I can find any others...

  2. It was a tough one to fill ten... luckily, it won't be around for long. Another post will replace it very soon.

  3. All I can think of is the theme tune to the kid's show "Let's Pretend" but even that does not fit the bill.

  4. If I'd have had the bottle, I'd have given brass from my pocket betting Freddie would get the crown, but in the end I didn't use it. I had to say this because I had to have some of your attention, so give it to me.


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