What to make of this and every Pretenders album since? With a new, funkier band and with evident ongoing mellowing/maturing in evidence, it seems intended to serve an audience as much as anything. As a member of that audience I appreciated the gesture and note that it served the purpose reasonably well. In spite of tepid reviews at the time, I thought Get Close was a pretty good Pretenders album, underrated even, and allowed myself the usual infatuations, daily plays, etc. Coming back to it many years later, however, I was nonplussed to find it not quite adding up. It's clearly a drop-off point. The most obvious example is the weird shot she takes at Michael Jackson, which has become harder to brush aside as Chrissie Hynde being Chrissie Hynde, because now it seems weird in a way that helps get at some of the problems. "How Much Did You Get for Your Soul?" is your basic glass house moment, especially when you can't help noticing that it is itself pretty much a rip-off of David Bowie's "Fame" (which leads directly to the swamp of James Brown's "Hot," and oh, never mind, now it's complicated). She used to take her ire out on hypocrites and phonies. Now the target is someone who sold more albums than she ever could. And covering a Hendrix song doesn't make that OK ("Room Full of Mirrors," nonetheless a pretty good cover). After recent attempts at Get Close kept fizzling I finally remembered my favorite songs had been on the second vinyl side—"Don't Get Me Wrong" (#10 hit in November 1986), "I Remember You," and especially "Hymn for Her." Sure enough, they still sound pretty good, but not what they once were. They have grown thinner and less substantial, as if wasting away across time. Plus there is the ever more noxious "How Much Did You Get?" right in the middle of them. So maybe I stayed one album too long and at least from the vantage can wave you off this one. Fans will like it but fans already know. I will also say I have never entirely lost my appreciation for Hynde's pugnacious personality, her songwriting and singing powers, and generally her instincts, so I have checked in with most along the way—Packed!, Last of the Independents, Viva el Amor, etc., etc. There is at least one good song on each, but not much need to elaborate beyond that.