Album Review: The Pretty Reckless - Who You Selling For

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It’s been six years since The Pretty Reckless first burst onto the rock scene. Frontwoman Taylor Momsen, only 15 at the time, was fresh off our TV screens portraying one of New York City’s most popular school girls on the CW’s high rating “Gossip Girl”. Teenage fans and gossip columns alike were shocked when she quit acting and left the show to focus on her music career. Fast forward to 2016, and it’s hard to believe that someone who once played a preppy school girl vying for the title of queen bee is capable of the kind of sound that is featured on this album. A huge jump from 2010’s ‘Light Me Up”, Momsen’s voice on “Who You Selling For” has matured and evolved in a massive way and is now up there with some of the greatest rock chicks of all time. This album has a different feel, and you can tell that the band has drawn influence from a number of different genres, from rock to blues and even a touch of country. Don’t let that put you off though, the sounds blend together surprisingly well and leave you with a very interesting and unique final product.

The opening track, “The Walls are Closing In/Hangman”, one of the longest on the album at just under 7 minutes, starts off slow with a beautiful piano intro and smoky vocals, which turns into a catchy guitar riff, before bursting into an epic rock anthem. The song, which the band says was inspired by a poem written by Chidiock Tichbourne on the eve of his execution, speaks of having control over your mind and soul, no matter what is happening to your body.

“Oh my God” one of the fastest, heaviest and most agressive songs on the album features in your face lyrics about struggling with self-worth and negative thoughts constantly running through your head (“Oh my god, wish I was dead, wish I could turn off the noise in my head”), while “Take me Down” the album’s first single, has more of a country feel and features an easy to sing along to chorus that will be stuck in your head for days.

Some of the slower songs on the album, including “Bedroom Window” and the album’s title track “Who You Selling For” have a very raw feel to them. Momsen’s vocals paired with a soft guitar showcases her versatile sound, while “The Devil’s Back”, the longest track on the album, allows you to completely lose yourself in the meaningful lyrics and soothing sounds of the guitar for seven minutes.

​Written while on tour and feeling isolated from the world around them, the overall theme of the album is about feeling lost and alone, struggling with dark thoughts and other people’s perception of you, but continuing to live your life and let the music help you to heal. Although the lyrics can be confronting, the sound and energy of each track will resonate in your bones and leave you wanting to jump around the room and dance along. Definitely one to be listened to loud.

Written by Amber Eccles
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