Learning To Crawl by Pretenders
What is the sound of a fledgling band dealing with multiple tragedies, coming to terms with drastic changes, digging deep into its consciousness, finding resolution in hurt, and overcoming staggering odds to record a bonafide masterwork? It's the sound of every note that graces the Pretenders' Learning to Crawl. Still recognized as one of the most emotionally gripping and musically gutsy performances ever made, the smash 1984 album hasn't aged a day. And now, it sounds better than could ever be imagined.
Half-speed mastered from the original master tapes, Learning to Crawl finally possesses the combination of whisper-in-your-ear intimacy and nerve-checking toughness that it's always demanded on Mobile Fidelity's super-quiet analog LP. Leader Chrissie Hynde's voice is made viscerally apparent, wavering between vigorous determination and solemn reflection, while drummer Martin Chamber's punchy backbeats register with requisite punch. To say nothing of how fresh the effort's hit singles ("Middle of the Road," "Back on the Chain Gang") and incredible deep cuts sound.
The story behind Learning to Crawl is directly connected to the powerful, moving music within. After releasing two records that swept the world by storm (Pretenders and Pretenders II, the latter available on hybrid SACD from Mobile Fidelity), the group's fortunes reversed after guitarist James Honeyman-Scott was found dead of a drug overdose in 1982. Shortly thereafter, founding member Pete Fardon, fired just two days before his partner's death, also succumbed to an overdose, leaving the band's state in tatters. Would there still be a Pretenders?
Hynde answers this question with a resounding "yes" on Learning to Crawl, which still contains signs of the band's early, street-wise rawness but also adds new wrinkles, with more streamlined melodies, sensitive ballads, and reflective tones. "Back on the Chain Gang," the Pretenders' most commercially successful hit, functioned as a bittersweet tribute to her ex-mates while the Christmas-themed "2000 Miles" holds rank as one of the most effecting, penetrating love songs of Hynde's career. Throughout the record, the Pretenders are again one.
New guitarist Robbie McIntosh supplies simpler, bluesier, basic guitar lines and the foursome know how to all-out rock, with the furious "Middle of the Road" and socially conscious "My City Was Gone" testifying to a stinging, thrilling sensibility that can exist only because of the devastation that the band survived. Call it the rise of the phoenix or triumph of the human will, but any way you see it, Learning to Crawl occupies a rare territory--akin to the space referred to on the superb cover of "Thin Line Between Love and Hate"--that registers in the pits of the human soul.
Whether you've grown up with this album, heard it in college, or are just learning about it now, Mobile Fidelity's expertly mastered 180g LP version is the only analog edition worth owning. Hear Hynde and Co.'s cathartic, transcendent effort in all its full splendor, and, like the Pretenders, refuse to settle for less.
1. Middle of the Road
2. Back on the Chain Gang
3. Time the Avenger
4. Watching the Clothes
5. Show Me
7. My City Was Gone
8. Thin Line Between Love and Hate
9. I Hurt You
10. 2000 Miles
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Vinyl records are able to capture the purest quality of recorded music in true form. This is possible because the initial recording is captured on an analog source (usually tape) for the ultimate in High Fidelity sound, it is then pressed onto virgin vinyl. Analog recordings capture the bottom end (or bass) while adding sweetness to the high end (or treble) better than any digital recording ever could. Analog systems are still commonly used before they are digitally transferred to CD. This means that the sound then is altered in the transfer process when CD's are produced. The word fidelity means accuracy and faithfulness. High Fidelity sound is faithful to the original sound made by the artist, capturing maximum accuracy of what was intended for the listener to hear. Vinyl records capture those sounds for the ultimate High Fidelity listening experience!
180/200 GRAM Vinyl LP
These vinyl records are produced with 180 or 200 grams of high definition premium grade virgin vinyl. This is a higher quality audiophile pressing than the typical vinyl record of 100-120 grams. These limited edition LP's are manufactured with the hi-fi enthusiast in mind. A 180 or 200 gram LP is sometimes also referred to as an audiophile pressing, there is a higher bass response and an even warmer High Fidelity sound. 180 or 200 grams LP's are typically manufactured in limited amounts and are considered collectables, commanding a higher price.
Typically, a vinyl reissue is a repressing of an original LP, usually extracted from the recording's master-tapes. In some cases, reissues are remastered to lower surface noise and improve overall sonics. Reissues help preserve the music of an original recording, especially when original LPs become unavailable or can no longer be found. Reissues can be pressed on a variety of thickness from 150 gram to 200 gram and offer a great opportunity for records collectors to own many classic recordings.