Unless you’ve actively avoided pop culture for some time, you’re familiar with the innocent-blonde-actress-from-Gossip-Girl who happens to be the wildly-talented-rockstar-frontwoman Taylor Momsen. The band she fronts, The Pretty Reckless, are no strangers to notoriety, consistently praised by critics, continually bearing the torch of rock and roll, and once again are taking up residence on the charts with their new album, Who You Selling For.
The band’s third full-length album is significant for two major reasons:
- It’s an insane display of grunge, country-folk, dark rock and funk, each individual genre masterfully represented
- It’s a window into some of the most silent turmoil of our generation
The Pretty Reckless transcends the musical limits represented by point No. 1 above; impressive for any modern band to master, the prime of all four of those genres landing years — or even decades — ago. Momsen feels undoubtedly born in the wrong decade. And thank God for that, because she has somehow rebirthed musical artifacts otherwise left ignored.
The best example is Momsen herself, whose gravelly voice and fearless approach to music is some kind of mix between Janis Joplin and Courtney Love. Her lyrics are already so freshly sliced open that adding in her distinct voice amplifies the agony she bravely shares in songs like “Bedroom Window,” “Already Dead” and “The Walls are Closing in.” In totality, WYSF feels less calculated, and more the product of an unhinged rawness, a uniqueness that has its own gravitational pull. It’s less sexually expressive and more emotionally exposed. Each track on this album is relevant, thoughtfully created, expertly performed. In truth, the lyrical content alone could justify a short analytical essay on psychosocial application.
On the surface, the album may not what you would expect from a band that has historically commanded a sexual and alternative presence in the media. But, as with any artist worth their weight, their careers progress and mature, shifting a bit each step of the way, using their previous success and failures as building blocks. And so it is with WYSF, one of the few true multi-genre collections out right now; the music alone would please fans from nearly any generation. But it doesn’t end there. If you’re looking to dissect the meat on the musical backbone, it is there, too: bold, exposed and heavily veiled as apathy. But the beauty is behind that veil, like buying an antique at a garage sale only to find out it’s a treasure. Dig deep in to this album, and you’ll find it’s rooted in heart.