In a genre that many fans consider dead, The Pretty Reckless are still determined to produce heart pumping authentic rock and roll music. The American rock band from New York City was formed in 2009, with lead singer Taylor Momsen already having media recognition from her role in the hit CW show Gossip Girl. As a polar opposite from what was expected from Momsen she met with record producer Kato Khandwala, whose repertoire includes acts in the likes of Blondie, Paramore and more, and began a long standing musical relationship which has resulted in an authentic rock and roll sound for The Pretty Reckless. Their third studio album Who You Selling For was released on October 21 and is already on its way of becoming one of the best rock albums of the year.
The album kicks off with “The Walls are Closing In/Hangman”, a track that sets up the whole album on a positive note. A short spoken intro then turns into a piano melody with her signature low vocals. The piano accompaniment allows her smooth vocals to shine before the mid-tempo stomp beat kicks in. As part of the track, her vocals fade into the background during some parts, which is a shame as she is a powerhouse. The first heavier song on the album is the following track ”Oh My God” which goes straight into electric guitar riffs and raspy vocals which play up the emotion being stressed by lyrics such as ”I’m just a face, painted in mud, don’t try for perfect it’s never enough,”
“Take Me Down,” the third track, is the first single released from Who You Selling For. Released back on July 15th of this year, the track has already proven to be a hit with fans. After seven weeks the song hit No.1 on the rock chart, making it their fourth consecutive No.1. “Take Me Down” has found a way to elevate the band higher up on the charts and on the musical radar for fans who have been itching for true female-fronted rock band.
While the beginning of the fourth track “Prisoner” might have long time fans drawing up comparisons to their past hit “Heaven Knows”, it quickly distinguishes itself while staying true to that rock and roll sound fans are looking for. That sound continues for a big part of the album, including tracks “Wild City” and “Living in the Storm.” On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have “Bedroom Window” a full acoustic track which is a pleasing surprised placed in the middle of the album.
The Pretty Reckless may have found success as a rock band but in Who You Selling For they are expanding their sound to dive deeper into the sounds of blues and southern rock. “Back to the River” transports listeners to the glory days of true breed southern rock and roll music with its electric guitars, contagious drum beats and raspy emotional vocals on behalf on Momsen. If those musical styles weren’t enough to add ear pleasing variation to this album, the band established an outlaw vibe with “Already Dead”, which can lend itself to any Hollywood produced western.
As the title track of the album “Who You Selling For” is one of the more tamed songs on the album. Momsen’s vocals take center stage against guitar riffs and a calmer melody. The song builds up to a moment of greatness where Momsen projects her emotion filled voice, allowing that specific moment to resonate with the listeners, creating one of the strongest tracks on the album.
Who You Selling For, the third studio album by The Pretty Reckless has given listeners a new evolving sound as the band branches out to include different stylistic musical elements that complement their true grit rock and roll sound. Mixed with their traditional sound along with a more southern rock influence, The Pretty Reckless has once again been able to produce an album that not only establishes them as a force in the rock and roll genre but also reignites the genre as a whole.