July 26, 1999 12:00 PM

Pretenders (Warner Bros.)

Album of the week

“They don’t make ’em like they used to,” Chrissie Hynde sings on “Pop-star,” the opening track of this most welcome comeback album. They sure don’t make ’em like Chrissie, the guitar-slinging, 47-year-old bandleader and femme rock pioneer who had left her home in Akron, Ohio, and was supporting herself cleaning London houses—Keith Richards’ among them—before the teenyboppers she tweaks here were born. It is heartening to find that Hynde has weathered tragedy—two founding Pretenders died of drug overdoses less than a year apart in the early ’80s, and her pal Linda McCartney shot this CD’s cover photo a month before she died of cancer last year—with her musical verve intact. Resilient as she is, Hynde reminds us in one song, “I’m only human on the inside.”

Bottom Line: The great Pretender returns

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