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Intellectual House o' Pancakes Webdiary

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2006-03-12 - 11:33 a.m.

I've been shootin' my mouth off for years about how The Pretenders went from being the greatest band in the universe (in my universe, anyway) to impossibly, unlistenably sucky.

So thank god for Rhino's new box set. On the one hand, it underscores the greatness and perfect fragile balance of musical personalities in the original band, but also provides reminders of their occasional bright flashes even after all the unfortunate deaths and constant lineup changes.

In addition to 4 CDs of hits, demos, and odd covers ("The Needle and the Damage Done"!), there's also a DVD of live performances, mostly clips from British TV shows. It's interesting that the band continued to have top 40 hits in the UK years after they lost our attention over here. It's also cute that Chrissie has never, ever changed her eyeliner.

There's a scorching live video performance of "Thumbelina" that makes me realize that song is really quite excellent.

And god help me, but I suddenly think that "Night in My Veins" isn't a bad li'l pop tune after all.

MirrorMask was in movie theaters for about 10 minutes last fall--where was its audience? Now it's on DVD and while the wide-screen impact may be lost, it's still a gorgeous, imaginative film, that explores the ever-pertinent subjects of identity, our shadow selves, and family function/dysfunction.

Uh, and it's got monkeybirds.

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