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The Pretty Reckless; Going to Hell

The Pretty Reckless
Going to Hell
March 18th, 2014
Razor and Tie Records

I’ve heard many musicians say that you have your entire life to write your first album and only a few months to record a sophomore release. So many artists slip out of sight after their debut album and fall prey to the sophomore curse. Not so with the release of Going to Hell.
“Rock & roll needs to make a resurgence,”  Taylor Momsen, founder of The Pretty Reckless, recently told Rolling Stone. Momsen is speaking on her belief that the genre has slipped from the mainstream ears, and she’s right. The genre isn’t like it was 10 years ago.
“It needs to come  back in a big way and take over again.”
While no stranger to the spotlight, Momsen’s band only recently broke onto the scene with their 2010 debut Light Me Up. The band toured world wide over the past few years and shared the stage with accomplished acts such as Evanescence and Marilyn Manson. It was Momsen’s stage presence that proved the band had the staying power of the veteran rockers like those they’d opened for while on tour.
Momsen says she’s fully prepared to hold up her end of the bargain though. “We’re  really trying to come to something unique and different,” she tells Rolling  Stone of Going to Hell, the band’s forthcoming second album, due  out in early 2014 on Razor and Tie.
The recording process of Going to Hell did have a major set back though. While in the recording process, Hurricane Sandy tore through Hoboken, New Jersey and ravaged Water Music Studios. The storm destroyed the majority of the band’s gear and many of the band’s demos and near-final versions of recordings for Going to Hell.
“We  had to rebuild,” Momsen recalled to Rolling Stone. The band did eventually return to Water Music and put the final touches on Going to Hell in July of 2013. I have a sense that having to rebuild for Sandy’s devastation is part of the reason why Going to Hell sounds the way it does. The album is full of crashing guitars, thundering drums and orchestrated vocal choirs. Momsen’s vocal control has evolved to a higher level. The 20 year old has gained a mastery over her voice that most musicians will never attain. She can go from a sultry whimper to a guttural growl in the span of a single chorus. You can hear the pain and determination in her voice all throughout the album. Going to Hell has it’s dark moments though. Momsen also explores themes such as nihilism, anger, disaffection, love, misanthropy and religious psychosis during the album’s emotional journey.
Going to Hell is full of bi-polar emotional peaks and valleys. Anger and frustration can be heard clearly in tracks like Fucked Up World, Heaven Knows and Going to Hell. The sense of yearning for acceptance is focused on in Absolution and House on a Hill. While on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, the quiet desperation of wanting to be loved and knowing that that love, be in from family or friends or a lover, can easily break you down are expressed by Momsen in Blame Me, Dear Sister and Waiting For a Friend.
Sweet Things finds Momsen harmonizing with her male counterpart and alternating between verses and choruses. During one of Sweet Things’ final verses, Momsen starts out with a sultry whimper and ends the verse in a gutter growl, “Where ya going? I wasn’t through. I wanna have my way with you,” before reigning in her ethereal voice.
The Pretty Reckless have broken the sophomore curse and continue to evolve musically. I’m a big fan of making playlists from what tracks bands play live. The story told during a live show easily transfers over to the studio recordings. The tracks off of Going to Hell mesh perfectly with those off the band’s debut album. While a similar formula seems to have been used for the writing of the band’s sophomore full length release, Going to Hell is a totally new animal and will without a doubt set the pace for the band’s future releases.
The tracklisting, as it sits on my Ipod, is as follows:
Going to Hell 4:38
Heaven Knows 3:44
House on a Hill 4:44 (my personal favorite)
Sweet Things 5:04
Dear Sister 0:56
Absolution 4:34
Blame Me 4:27
Why’d You Bring a Shotgun to the Party? 3:20
Follow Me Down 4:41
Burn 1:48
Fucked Up World 4:16
Waiting For a Friend 3:12
The streaming audio and download of the album I’d gotten place Follow Me Down is different spots. On the streaming version, it’s the first track. On the download, it’s track 9. Either way the album as a whole is brilliantly produced. Do yourself a favor and don’t cherry pick this one off of iTunes. Buy the entire album!


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