The Pretty Reckless – Death by Rock and Roll (Release 12.02.2021)

The Pretty Reckless – Death by Rock and Roll (Release 12.02.2021)
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The Pretty Reckless – Death by Rock and Roll 

German Version of the Article here: The Pretty Reckless German Review


Radio:Active Rating: 10/10 MEGAHERTZ

Written by: Lisa Hemp

Band: The Pretty Reckless

Album: Death by Rock and Roll

Genre: Alternative Rock

Label: Century Media Records

Distribution: Sony Music

Release: 12.02.2021



Death By Rock And Roll 03:55

Only Love Can Save Me Now (feat. Kim Thayil und Matt Cameron) 05:12

And So It Went (feat. Tom Morello) 04:30

25 05:27

My Bones 04:48

Got So High 03:20

Broomsticks 00:39

Witches Burn 04:54

Standing At The Wall 03:59

Turning Gold 04:10

Rock And Roll Heaven 05:12

Harley Darling 04:19

After a long episode with a lack of good news and constant change in the circumstances of life it almost sounds too good to be true that there is an album around the corner which is eagerly awaited by millions of fans. Music is and remains a kind of therapy for the heart and the ups and downs in life. The album title “Death by Rock and Roll” sounds like the perfect anthem of this difficult  time!

The Pretty Reckless didn’t release any new music for whole 4 years (felt like an eternity!) At the same time my love for this band grew, as felt the longing for new songs made the heart beat even higher. At least that’s how I imagine the waiting time for the new album, because I just got to know and love the band since a year ago. Even I just couldn’t wait any longer.

“In many ways, the new album we’re working on feels like a rebirth”,

Taylor Momsen said in May 2020, when the band released the Single “Death By Rock And Roll,” –  the  first new single in four years. The single reached No. 1 on the U.S. rock charts. It was the fifth No. 1 single in the U.S. by The Pretty Reckless. 

The band from New York City thus became the first rock band with a female frontsinger to achieve this success. I’ll add: actually these are sad news, because there are so many bands with amazing female singers. Don’t get me wrong: I´m so damn proud of TPR about their success. However, I think it’s time to give more attention to female musicians. So open your eyes or ears! Look outside the box and you will get to know so many more good female-fronted bands.

“Death By Rock And Roll” by The Pretty Reckless is the first studio album without the involvement of their producer Kato Khandwala, who passed away in 2018. Kato was not only on the console for the debut album “Light Me Up”, but also for the terrific follow-up album “Going To Hell”. This work has been released 7 years ago and has not lost a bit of energy in that time. In 2012 Taylor ceased her acting career and listened to her guts to follow the music wholeheartedly .

With “Heaven Knows,” “Fucked Up World” and “Follow Me Down,” The Pretty Reckless coupled out three number one hits in a row. This success was previously only achieved by “The Pretenders”, who also released three number one hits in ’84 as a female-fronted band.

Their latest album, 2016’s “Who You Selling For,” also spawned a number #1 single with “Take Me Down.” This was the first song that stuck in my head.

The Pretty Reckless have Matt Cameron (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden), Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) and Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine) as guest musicians for “Death By Rock And Roll” on board.

There are so many feelings that hit you while listen to the album for the first time. It´s a mixture of oldschool rock, post-rock , goosebump ballads and few country moments. The Pretty Reckless includes something for everyone. Not many musicians can do that and certainly not in such consistent lasting quality.

If you had to draw comparisons, a few artists come to mind while listening that you can feel in certain sections: Tom Petty, CCR, Tool, Soundgarden, Blondie, Courtney Love, Nirvana… and first and foremost a large portion of feeling and emotion related to the past, present and the glimmer of hope for the future.

People who especially count on lyrics in albums have found their godess in Taylor Momsen She knows how to capture the struggle of thoughts with words. She combines pain and hope in the tightrope act of life. The past is lived through and the future is thrown out as a fishing rod and questioned hard.

The entire album takes the listener on a journey. It starts with self-destruction, morbid thoughts and psychedelic feelings, followed by the inner peace bursting out and finding its end in resignation.

Those who start the journey with an open heart will encounter a number of old rock legends, fellow musicians and friends of the band who died young. Family problems shake hands, while self-hatred is not hidden and finds expression on the basis of witch burning. The track “Broomstick” underlines this metaphorical view.  “Death by Rock and Roll” combines madness, perfection, genius and frightening thoughts in 12 songs.

“Standing At The Wall”

I first heard the Titel  when I stepped outside the door and a few snowflakes were falling down from the sky. The mood instantly collided with the arrangement of the song. Thoughts went quiet and the soul rode a roller coaster, meanwhile the heart took a leap towards the sobbing truth. The song lyrics telling about the feelings of loneliness while standing reared in front of a wall and having to face the certainty that no one will catch you.

This hurts and at the same time it brightens up the moment, because you can feel that you are not alone with this situation. A song that begins ballad-like and increases towards the end and reflects an outburst of emotions. TPR know how to let tracks grow like a story. The emotion of the story is not lost in any second and you are really pulled along, while the small anxious flame of the initial feeling learns to glow. Loneliness and uncertainty reflect the struggle in this song, not knowing if you even want to win!

“Death by Rock and Roll” “25” and “And So it Went” have already been released. Therefore, it should not be about these tracks in detail today. I have picked out two tracks that have fascinated me in a lasting way. “My Bones” and “Only Love Can Safe Me Now!”

“Only Love Can Safe Me Now”

In this Track Taylor talks about the overflow of feelings and thoughts regarding noise of the world, chaos and diseases. A woman who wants to be saved from all the shadows. She sinks more and more into waves of sadness that she can’t get out of on her own. The moment when you feel left alone and the thought that no one will help. That crushing feeling where it doesn’t matter how strong you are and the certainty: only love can save you!

The track delights with a 7/4 intro and leads into a 4/4 groove followed by a 6/8 beat. The psychedelic guitar sounds immediately reminds of Kim Thayil, and the odd notes point directly to the collaboration with Matt Cameron. This song is a perfect reflection of the fact that there are musicians who you can immediately tell who is behind them by the way they play music. Artists who are so unique that you can see the person behind the music. The guitar brings at the same time plenty of ear fireworks, because the listener can expect a mixture of fat bendings, Wha-Wha emphasized solo art, tremolastigen sound and a cleverly introduced seeping part. The bass adds an eerie depth of space to the sound and contrasts the guitar’s harmonics. Taylor uses whispering vocals and the “flanger effect” in the low notes to build the mood. By technically using a lot of air on purpose, she creates a stunning effect , literally breathing the notes.

In the chorus, there is an amazing development that explodes in the long note of the word “Love”. It seems thereby like a liberation blow with the help of LOVE.

“My Bones”

This track captured me from the first note. If I had to choose a favorite song of the record, I would choose this one! That Taylor is a gifted singer is no secret and this song showcases the typical Taylor Momsen style. She plays with the notes with an ease, using the glissando to her advantage. Glissando in music refers to the continuous (gliding) change of pitch when two notes are joined. A technique that is made for her exceptional voice. Paired with the “Vocal Fry” technique (which is also known from Kurt Cobain) the song gets a powerful intensity in the chorus. In the bridge they change the timing and the metrics and thus create an incomparable variety in their tracks. They apply the same in “And so it went” and “25.” They incorporate parts that you wouldn’t expect in the course of the song. And again show their musical talent, which is beyond the average of the great musicians.

The bridge in “My Bones” is reminiscent of the stylings of Blondie and Courtney Love. The drummer lays down a polished 6/8 staccato groove at the beginning and switches to a fast shuffle beat. So it’s unlikely that the body won’t respond to this song. The bass fits in tightly and presents itself restrained and minimalistic. True to the motto “less is more,” it thus supports Taylor’s vocals and propels the song forward.

Content-wise, “My Bones” demanded a lot from me. The artist creates lyrics that are not easy to take with half an ear. Each line leaves room for interpretation. The basic tenor is loneliness, fear, sadness and madness. Metaphors go hand in hand and tell of humanity, which do not turn around after the individual and again the knowledge, one is only closest to himself. In addition, this existing beast in her, what she wants to destroy. A possible perception of self-destruction or something unknown, which would not allow a diagnosis. Torn by an illness that is not one and a sense of complete loss of control.

“Follow me, don’t follow me, my Bones” the song says, allowing imagination, that only a grave is a safe place and it would be a huge mistake to stop this person from committing suicide. Only in this hole she finds peace, because this beast can’t hurt her there anymore.

“When I was young, I could perfectly see. Now i’m this blind. Blind as the girl can be”

The critical look into the past. As a child you thought you knew the truth, when you get older you learn that the childish way of looking at life is a lie. Because the truth is: The world is corrupted! “Out of insanity” an equally impressive chosen line. It could mean that she is glad now finally to escape from the childlike pretended insanity. But another view could be the following: The engine to function is madness! The lyrics are as grandiose as they are complex. What Taylor wanted to tell us exactly, will remain her secret and one’s own view on the words, will probably change a few times over the years (changes in one’s own life).

“We are Sin! So why am I so guilty!

The complete album is perfect as it is! Musically unsurpassed and the stories behind it couldn’t be more personal. A courageous soul trip, which hits the listener in every single track. For me already the album of the year 2021! Without a doubt 10/10 MEGAHERTZ!

More Informations:

The Pretty Reckless /Taylor Momsen – meine persönliche Entdeckung 2020