Pretenders : Brass In Pocket
On November 11, the new Pretenders single, "Brass In Pocket", entered the U.K. charts at #57. By January of 1980, the month the band's debut album finally came out on Real Records, it would top the U.K. charts. The tune would also be a U.S.#14 hit, even inspiring a few to learn what the Yorkshire term "brass in pocket" means ( spare change) though nobody has really deciphered the phrase "Detroit leaning".
Many male critics were taken with singer-songwriter Chrissie Hynde's sex appeal in this song. Here's David Hepworth's review in Smash Hits:
Well, they may be keeping us waiting a sinful long time for their debut album, but as long as they can put out singles as simple and easy as this then they've got good reason to be confident. This is less of a song than a series of remarks that gets its hooks in you with one simple guitar riff over a light and lovely rhythm. I think she's got a sexy voice.
That may be true but Hynde also spoke to women in a way no rocker has before. Here's what Ann Powers wrote about this song and the debut album as a whole:
In the same way that The Cather in the Rye gave generations of undergrads ab way to make sense of their own alienation, or Fear of Flying taught secretaries and schoolteachers how they might articulate desire, Pretenders pinpointed the thrills and frustration felt by the women musicians, record store clerks, band managers, scenesters, and fans living in the shadow of a male-dominated rock + roll --but also daring the rebel moves it seemed to make possible.
The B-sides, sadly, are both uninspired instrumentals.
I just watched "Lost In Translation" for a second time last week. Scarlett Johansson performs the song in a karaoke bar in a memorable scene that has the audience wondering what exactly is happening between her and Bill Murray. One of those odd moments when my musical life crosses over into my real one.