Rolling Stone (7/12/90) - 3.5 Stars - Very Good "...supremely melodic and rife with nerve-racking downshifts..."
Entertainment Weekly - "...grabs your attention..." - Rating: B-
Q - 4 Stars - Excellent - Included in Q's list of the Fifty Best Albums of 1990.
Down Beat (9/90) - 3.5 Stars - Very Good - "...Hynde's return is welcomed. She is one of the premier woman singer/songwriters in the rock world, which she assertively affirms with this album...Her new songs don't break any new ground, but they've got that lip-pursing punch to them that makes this collection an impressive one."
Personnel: Chrissie Hynde (vocals); Matt Smyth, Dave Reily (tapes).
Recording information: Abbey Road Studios, London; Air Recording Studios, London; Mayfair Studios, London; Sunset Sound Factory, Los Angeles.
Photographers: Terry O'Neill ; Jill Furmanovsky.
By 1990, the Pretenders had logged over a decade of touring and quite a few pop crossover hits. Certainly the band's sound matured, and there's a definite low-key veneer to the foursome's fifth release. PACKED! is heavy on the melodic ballads, but then few imbue a simple mellow rocker with the passion of Chrissy Hynde, and as a group who's seen its share of true tragedy, the songs never ring insincere in the slightest. Opening single (and modern rock hit) "Never Do That" pours a lifetime of loving into the sort of fluttering '50s-rock slow jam that's become the Pretenders' trademark. While they occasionally conjure up a more punk-friendly tune, as on the barroom blues brawlin' of "No Guarantee," the overall feel is one of a warm lodge with corners both dusty-familiar and hidden-revelatory.