Many people might know Taylor Momsen as Jenny Humphrey from the CW television show, Gossip Girl.
However, this young teenager has a whole different side to her that is bursting onto the scene because today marks the release of her band’s first studio album. Fronted by Momsen, The Pretty Reckless also features Ben Phillips on guitar, Kato Khandwala on bass and Jamie Perkins on drums. Make no mistake, though, their debut record Light Me Up is no cookie-cutter pop music album, it is a hard-hitting rock-n-roll treat that features the 17-year-old Momsen singing flawlessly like a hardened thirty year-old with mature lyrics to match her voice.
“My Medicine” kicks off the record with attention-grabbing stop-and-go guitar strumming as Momsen’s vocals show right off the bat that she belongs in the music industry. “Since You’re Gone” features a furiously grooving bassline that drives the song with even raspier vocals from Momsen before the catchy, dark and anthemic “Make Me Wanna Die” blares through the speakers. Listeners might recognize this song from the film Kick-Ass released in 2010.
“Light Me Up” has a slight twang to it with poppier sentiments but the subsequent track, “Zombie,” returns to the hard rock theme. It is haunting and hard-hitting with Momsen singing lines like “blow the smoke right off the tubes/ kiss my gentle burning bruise.”
Whether it is the pounding drums of “Miss Nothing,” the head-banging chorus from the murderous tale “Goin’ Down,” or the sleazy rock-n-roll spirit of the distorted closer “Factory Girl,” Momsen and crew create songs sure to send fists flying into the air and inspire dirty dancing at shows.
The record, though, is not all about haunting lyrics and aggressive arrangements. It also features several ballads, the best of which is “Just Tonight,” a melodically superb offering with a soaring chorus. “Nothing Left to Lose” is the only track over four minutes and its chorus is reminiscent of Don McLean’s “American Pie.” The penultimate track, however, is the only track that really does not seem to fit in amongst the others as it is a pure love song with soft, falsetto vocals from Momsen over an acoustic guitar.
Light Me Up is a hard rock record that packs a punch and an attitude that make The Pretty Reckless one of the most exciting bands to break onto the scene in quite some time.