Album Review: The Pretty Reckless ‘Who You Selling For’

by Danielle Holian

When The Pretty Reckless released their first album Light Me Up in 2010, their music was somewhat neglected by the fact that frontwoman Taylor Momsen was a part of TV series Gossip Girl. Roll on to four years later when their second record Going To Hell changed people’s perceptions of the group and they received the attention they deserved.

Now, they are back with their new full-length studio album Who You Selling For. They have stepped it up. This record continues to show their maturing into their sound and is quite disparate from their previous albums. It has a wide-ranging mix of sounds, which as a whole, makes it great. There is a lot of experimentation going on making each song different from the next and entirely memorable. Momsen knows how to make each song diverse, catchy and entertaining. Her love for music shows throughout the record and fuels the emotion and originality of the entire album.

The title is important to Momsen, “For me, it’s a question that challenges what I’m doing with my life. It questions the meaning of my actions whatever they are. It also defines the record in a grander way by asking the listener to look into the meaning of each song past the obvious.”

Who You Selling For proves TPR are one of the hottest hard-rocking bands on the scene right now. There is a striking collection of rock tunes that has expanded their sound with bluesy undertones and soulful grooves. The instrumentation and songwriting are impeccable as always; the lyrics are dark, deep, honest and thoughtful and Momsen’s charismatic vocals are better than ever before. The record feels raw and unpolished, like any good rock album. They have raised the bar.Listening to this album is like a trip down the memory lane of the history of rock. The lead single ‘Take Me Down’ has a country feel to it and features Momsen’s individual smokey voice above the ‘60s-tinged rock guitar clearly influenced by The Rolling Stones and was an instant hit when it was released. ‘Oh My God’ is a riff-heavy rock tune ready to get heavy thrashing and adrenaline going; the lyrics deal with self-worth issues and struggling with negative thoughts: “Oh my god, wish I was dead, wish I could turn off the noise in my head.” ‘Prisoner’ is a foot-stomping anthem and ‘Back to the River’ reminisces on the transitional blues and rock era of the ‘60s.

Listening to this album is like a trip down the memory lane of the history of rock. The lead single ‘Take Me Down’ has a country feel to it and features Momsen’s individual smokey voice above the ‘60s-tinged rock guitar clearly influenced by The Rolling Stones and was an instant hit when it was released. ‘Oh My God’ is a riff-heavy rock tune ready to get a heavy thrashing and adrenaline going; the lyrics deal with self-worth issues and struggling with negative thoughts: “Oh my god, wish I was dead, wish I could turn off the noise in my head.” ‘Prisoner’ is a foot-stomping anthem and ‘Back to the River’ reminisces on the transitional blues and rock era of the ‘60s.

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