One night several years ago, Taylor Momsen’s father took her to a White Stripes show.
“Before that, the only concert I’d been to was Britney Spears,” says the singer, songwriter, and guitarist. “But once I saw Jack White onstage, that was it. I grew up as a dancer and I thought you had to dance to be a girl in the music industry. Then I saw the White Stripes and I was like, ‘No, you don’t. I can do that.’”
And so opens the bio on The Pretty Reckless Website, where 16-year-old Momsen now fronts (and plays rhythm guitar) for a powerhouse influenced by the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, Audioslave, and Nirvana. "Make Me Wanna Die," released in March earlier this year as part of the the Kick-Ass soundtrack, is the band's debut single that soared to number one in the United Kingdom and broke the top 20 in the United States.
But no matter where the song ends up, The Pretty Reckless are pretty smart. Almost immediately after the song was released, the band debuted a promotional video on YouTube featuring the live performances and backstage footage of the band. As people get to know them, connect, and help them charge forward, The Pretty Reckless is here to say. Some of their videos are just shy of one million views.
Naturally, Momsen isn't just a fresh face. She has some buzz value from "Gossip Girl." However, that's not why Liquid [Hip] accepted my pitch to post about them. All Momsen's songs — "Make Me Wanna Die," "My Medicine," and "Goin' Down" make you quickly forget those ties.
Helping Momsen break the image that some boring critics still cling to (yawn) is Ben Phillips (guitar), Mark Damon (bass), and Jamie Perkins (drums). Since they write their own music, the band has a fresh sound that hits the spot in 2010. You'll see it listed as anything and everything from post-grunge to power pop, but only by those who never understood alternative rock.
“I’m not just writing something because I think people might like it,” Momsen says. “I hope they do, but I’m writing it because I have something to say."
The real test for success has really taken place across the pond. The Gossip Girls stigma seems to have less impact. Sure, it originally was the reason that crowds turned out, but after even one song that is not why they will tune in. This isn't a child star turned rocker in the off-shot season. It was the real deal in the United Kingdom.
While most of the attention seems to be centered on one single, the punchy blues sound that accompanies "My Medicine" will be the next to be noticed. "Going Down" has a more mainstream sound, but fits well enough with the mix on the album. It's the alto that brings it all together.
The Pretty Reckless Debut Earns A 9.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
The Pretty Reckless first appeared on iTunes on June 21. Customer reviewers there all claim to have been waiting for the day that the first hit single arrived. Based on the abundance of 5-star ratings, the three-song line up there is easily well-received.
There doesn't seem to be as much excitement on Amazon, but you can still find the three-song taste there as a digital download. It could be the compression rate; you never know. The Pretty Reckless EP pre-teases the LP.