Back when I listened to my local rock station (which I had to turn them off, but that’s a different story), they loved playing two songs from The Pretty Reckless. The full album came through work and I thought I would give it a chance. Three months later this CD is long overdue and I really have to return it. Damn shame too. It’s been in my car all along and nearby cars along my commute have enjoyed hearing some of the songs as I crank the volume and roll the windows down.
This album is from 2014 and I see the band released a new album in February of this year. I’m going to have to grab that too. Thanks to radio stations that phone it in or are bought up by conglomerates like I Heart Radio, listeners don’t get exposed to rock and metal anymore. We have to seek it out. Bring back Headbangers Ball. Give me a sit down show with bands so I can learn things. The fact that I didn’t realize Taylor Momsen is the lead singer, miss Cindy Lou Who herself, is ridiculous. I’m embarrassed I didn’t know that.
I also think I should know more about Taylor herself because there’s a theme to this album. “Going to Hell” isn’t just a name, it is a focus throughout the songs. Songs written by Taylor herself. Some sort of religious guilt maybe? How can a woman rock, be sexy, and still feel she’s on the side of rightousness despite fellow members of her faith no doubt wanting to burn or drown her. “Follow Me Down” is as much a symbol of baptism as it is foreplay. “Going to Hell” “Heaven Knows” and the songs continue to explore the voices on the shoulders. Here is what I was believed to be right when I was younger versus here is what I believe to be true today.
All of this continues into “Fucked Up World” (or “Messed Up World” if you want radio play) when Taylor flat out says “jamming Jesus down my throat, no, I don’t want to be saved.” The biggest example I can give for the declining popularity of rock is the lack of protests around the band. While “concerned parents” screamed against Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Marilyn Manson, Motley Crue, and many more there has been silence for The Pretty Reckless. (Hell, the only fight against Ghost is within the metal community itself and in a different time they would be a huge target.) I don’t disagree with her either. Living your life in a moral way – love, respect, kindness, charity – shows more of the character in one’s soul than thumping the Bible in people’s faces.
Themes and lyrics aren’t enough though and holy crap does this album rock. I could crank the first three songs over and over again while driving. Then Taylor takes it down to more intimate songs. Now that she has yelled from the rooftops and opened herself up we can all sit down, gather in a circle, and lean in to hear what her heart has to say. The band cranks it up again to close out the album and “Why’d You Bring a Shotgun to the Party” is a sleeper of a song. Bam, back half of the record, I bet you weren’t expecting this here.
For anyone in your life who still likes to play rock n roll in the backyard on a weekend and complain there’s no good music anymore, surprise them with this album. There’s Joan Jett, there’s grunge, there’s sex, there’s just good ole fashioned rock n roll in here.