Is the Pretenders' new album Alone really a Pretenders album at all, since it's the second consecutive to feature Chrissie Hynde as the lone original member? Hynde said she wrestled with the question herself while working with producer Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys – then she had a breakthrough.

"What happened with this one was, when I brought these songs back from the studio, my manager was playing them for someone, and the guy said, 'Wow, it’s great to hear the Pretenders back," Hynde told Billboard. "And so my manager came to me and said, 'It really does sound like a Pretenders album.' And I went, 'Yeah, doesn’t it?'"

Auerbach quickly signed off on it, after Hynde sent what she called a "really long, rambling email" explaining the difference, in her mind, between Alone and her 2014 solo project, Stockholm.

"I went into it saying, 'This solo-vs.-the-Pretenders thing has sort of plagued me for years,'" Hynde said. "This idea of having to justify using the name the Pretenders. But I guess the real reason behind that is A) most of the original Pretenders are dead, so what can I do about it? And B) I want to carry on playing our songs and stuff. So that’s how that happened 35 years ago. And since then, there’s been some lineup changes."

Hynde, in fact, has been using session players on albums released under the Pretenders banner since 1990's Packed. The original foursome, including guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and bassist Pete Farndon, lasted for only the band's first two albums before both died in the early '80s. Co-founding drummer Martin Chambers was out of the band from 1985-93. Though technically still a member of the Pretenders, his last studio contribution dates back to 2002's Loose Screw. After so long with a rotating lineup, Hynde was moved to ask a rhetorical question. "Well, what does solo mean?" she mused.

The Pretenders are currently on tour in support of Alone with Stevie Nicks. Those dates continue into December.

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