The Pretty Reckless are an American alternative rock band from New York City, NY, formed in 2009. The band is fronted by actress Taylor Momsen (vocals, rhythm guitar), who starred as Jenny Humphrey on The CW series Gossip Girl. She also played Cindy Lou Who in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). Momsen is joined by Ben Phillips (lead guitar), Mark Damon (bass) and Jamie Perkins (drums), and she cites Kurt Cobain and Joan Jett as her influences. Cool. Typically, I don’t pay attention to actors or actresses who think they can be rock stars, too, but Taylor Momsen is the exception. She has a good voice, and, with her band, has recorded some pretty cool music. The band’s debut song, “Make Me Wanna Die,” appeared on the soundtrack to the 2010 movie Kick Ass, and that’s where I first heard The Pretty Reckless.
The Pretty Reckless‘ debut full-length Light Me Up (2010) is an impressively mature set of post-grunge alternative rock. Momsen, only 16-years-old at the time, co-wrote all of the songs with Ben Phillips and producer Kato Khandwala, and it’s hard to believe that she was once considered for the role of Hannah Montana! “Make Me Wanna Die,” “My Medicine” and the Beatles-esque title track are standout rockers, but my favorite is “Since You’re Gone,” which sounds like Nirvana meets Faith No More. “Just Tonight,” the first U.S. single, from the album, should have been a bigger hit. And, “You,” an acoustic ballad, and “Nothing Left To Lose” an Americana ballad, are awesome tracks, too. The latter references Don McLean‘s “American Pie” with the lyric: “After Jesus and rock n roll / Couldn’t save my immoral soul …” Cool.
The band followed up, in 2012, with an EP, Hit Me Like A Man, but offered only 3 new songs with 2 live cuts. The title track is a badass Led Zeppelin-esque bluesy rocker in which Taylor demands: “Hit me like a man / And love me like a woman.” Then adds: “One will give you hell / One will give you heaven.” Great track! Later that year, The Pretty Reckless released a cool new single, “Kill Me,” which was featured on the series finale of Gossip Girl. I never watched that show. I aways wanted to, but never did. Hopefully, now, Momsen can concentrate on a new album!
Watch the videos for “Make Me Wanna Die” and “Just Tonight” here:
The Pretty Reckless Discography
2010.05.30 – “Make Me Wanna Die” [Single]
2010.06.22 – The Pretty Reckless [EP]
2010.08.27 – Light Me Up [Album]
2012.03.06 – Hit Me Like a Man [EP]
2012.12.11 – “Kill Me” [Single]