Gossip Girl Gone Grunge: A Review of The Pretty Reckless



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While I was out with one of my friends the other night I was showed a new music video. Actually, that’s a lie: I was told not to watch the video until I gave the song a good listen first, because if  I were to see who was in the band I probably wouldn’t give it a chance.  My first thought was “oh great, female vocals” (note the sarcasm,  I have never been a fan of female vocals ). As I listened more I was impressed. The vocals reminded me of a harder, punkier Alannah Myles and in a few spots I could hear a bit of Nirvana influence. It had a very old school rock ‘n roll grunge kind of vibe. Nothing fancy, no pop bullshit: just good old grungy rock ‘n roll. I was pleased, but needed to find out who it was I was listening to.

The band… “The Pretty Reckless”. Name ring a bell? No? I wouldn’t expect it to. How about ‘Taylor Momsen’? That’s right: Jenny Humphrey from CW’s Gossip Girl. I wont lie – Gossip Girl was one of my favourite guilty pleasures during its time. For those of you who have never have the pleasure of watching the show, it was  your typical rich-bitch drama show about gossip, relationships, sex, schemes, family issues, fame and of course money, money, money. Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen) was your typical “good girl gone bad”.  Taylor also played the iconic  cutesy “Cindy Lou Who” in Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, so there’s that. That being said, her band ‘ The Pretty Reckless” is nothing like anything she’s ever done before.  “I didn’t choose acting or modeling, I got thrown into it,” Momsen says. “I liked it, so that wasn’t a problem, but music and songwriting are what I’ve always really wanted to do.”

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We all judge a book by its cover and would be lying if we said otherwise, and in this case I totally did. I knew a few years ago that Taylor Momsen was putting music out, but because it was her I didn’t give it a chance. I did the same thing when Jared Leto rolled on the eyeliner and put out his first video with 30 Seconds to Mars. How good could they be, I thought – they’re actors!  It was only when I took the time to really listen that I started to appreciate it. I found some acoustic performances and was blown away. How can you deny someone’s talent when they can perform at such a raw and intimate level? Once you get past Taylor’s overdone Courtney Love/ Blondie “sexy” punk/goth look you are plowed with incredible low and dirty powerhouse vocals.  There is a maturity in her vocals that’s so unmistakable but so strange to see coming out of this scrawny little blonde girl. Musically, it’s nothing super special: it’s rock and roll, which I’m fine with. Sometimes that’s all you need.

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Taylor Momsen – Vocals
Ben Phillips – Guitar
Mark Damon – Bass
Jamie Perkins – Drums

‘Going To Hell’ is the first released track from their latest album also titled ‘ Going To Hell” which will be out March 18, 2014. In the meantime you can check out ‘The Pretty Reckless EP’ , ‘Light Me Up’ and ‘Hit Me Like A Man EP’.