Since the first singles ("Kid," "Brass in Pocket," "Stop Your Sobbing"), Hynde has delivered aggressively feminist music. Her slashing rhythm guitar and broad vibrato define the Pretenders, no matter the genre. She's pointed, even when she's tender; the early, previously unreleased rocker "Watching the Clothes" is fundamentally gentle, and the rueful "My City Was Gone" is as much a love song to dying cities as Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" was in the more innocent '60s.
Frequent lineup changes aside (Martin Chambers, second only to the Stones' Charlie Watts in his blend of swing and authority, remains her closest associate), the band's consistent purpose, originality, and intelligence come through beautifully, from "Talk of the Town" to such overlooked late-career tracks as "Complex Person." Drawing evenly from across Hynde's career, the set includes comprehensive notes and some track-by-track comments by Hynde. The DVD spans 19 songs, with performances going back as far as 1979.