The Pretty Reckless burst onto the rock scene in 2010 with the release of Light Me Up and the world was surprisingly blessed with a strong and gifted frontwoman in the form of Taylor Momsen. Initially, the music world doubted Momsen and her band– remember cute little Cindy Lou Who from Jim Carey’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas? That was Momsen. She was also on Gossip Girl, which didn’t exactly help her rock n’ roll cred. What’s more, she hadn’t even turned 18 when Light Me Up was released.
“Make Me Wanna Die” was the first track I heard. It shuffled into one of my Pandora stations, and the driving beat, edgy guitars and Momsen’s vocal stylings– soft and sweet coos to deep and cutting wails– captured me. Sure, the lyrics were a bit emo, but the sound was as addictive as Momsen’s now-signature cigarette. Thanks to modern age technology, it didn’t take long to find and download the full album.
Irreverent on the surface, Momsen interprets her world and the angst of growing up through song, and that’s where it finds its genuineness. Whether she intends to or not, Momsen captures the sound of other strong female singers throughout– the album’s title track is reminiscent of Alanis while the closing track, “Factory Girl,” reminds me of Madonna.
Despite walking in the door with a Hollywood starlet reputation, Momsen has the confident attitude and gritty edge of a natural rock lead. The band delivers hard-hitting riffs and a thumping beat throughout, giving the album a double dose of angst. The Pretty Reckless have gone on to release two more studio albums (side note– the band teamed up with Warren Haynes for 2016’s “Back to the River”), but Light Me Up is the album that continues to deliver.