Band Review: The Pretty Reckless
I have always been faithful to pop music from the nineties and the early 2000s. Maybe it`s because that`s the music that I grew up listening to or because the happy lyrics and the up-tempo beat put me in a good mood and make me want to dance. Either way, I find myself listening to pop music the majority of the time when I turn on the radio or my iPod. However, even the pop artists that I have admired for a long time such as Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Pink and many others have evolved and changed their sound. Similarly, I have added new artists that represent different genres to my list of favorites. One of them is a band called The Pretty Reckless.
If there is a band more different than any pop singer or group out there, The Pretty Reckless is it. Led by twenty year old Taylor Momsen, The Pretty Reckless is a hard rock/alternative rock/post-grunge band from New York. Aside from Taylor there are also three other band mates, Ben Phillips, Mark Damon, and Jamie Perkins who play various instruments and provide back vocals. The Pretty Reckless has opened for The Veronicas, Marilyn Manson, Evanescence, and also headlined its own tour called “The Light Me Up Tour”. The band has released one album, “Light Me Up” which was released in 2010 and a few EPs including “Hit Me Like a Man”. The band`s second album “Going to Hell” is set to be released in march of 2014.
Taylor Momsen`s story and her path to becoming a lead singer of a rock band is quite interesting. Taylor first rose to fame as a child model. She caught her big break when she starred as Cindy Lou in the famous Christmas movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” alongside Jim Carrey. Aside from other movie roles, Taylor was mostly known for playing Jenny Humphrey in a popular CW show “Gossip Girl”. All in all, many of her fans were shocked when Momsen decided to leave the show and focus on her music career instead. They were even more shocked by Taylor`s new edgy, sexy, rock chick image which was a complete one eighty from the innocent, girl-next-door image she had before. Letting people come to their own conclusions Taylor and her band mates got to work and “Light Me Up” was born. When asked who has influenced her, Taylor Momsen lists The Beatles, Oasis, and Nirvana as her biggest musical influences. Taylor has also been compared to Joan Jett, but although she has said that she is a fan of Jett in various interviews, Joan Jett hasn’t been a huge influence on her image, sound, or song subject matter.
The Pretty Reckless songs deal with various topics. The songs as well as the music videos reflect the rock spirit where love, sex, alcohol, and religion are often the focus. The music video for the song Miss Nothing depicts the last supper. Taylor explains that “the song is telling an ambiguous story about a lover dying, and I’m depicting Mary Magdalene, and Jesus just died. It’s about not being able to live without a lover. It’s Mary Magdalene’s last supper, it’s my last supper, because I can’t live”. “You” features a much more stripped down Taylor (literally…) playing a guitar and singing about wanting to be with someone but struggling with the relationship at the same time.
“Going to Hell”, a newest video explores the themes of sin, hell, and contains a lot of religious images. Overall, The Pretty Reckless is definitely a visual band which relies on music videos to further enhance the musical experience.
Although The Pretty Reckless songs explore deeper and darker themes compared to most pop music artists, there is something about Taylor Momsen`s raspy voice, lyrics that deal with life and all that comes with it, as well as powerful melodies and music videos. All of that has turned The Pretty Reckless into one of the bands that I listen to on repeat.