Taylor Momsen knocks it out of the park with The Pretty Reckless‘ most recent album Death By Rock And Roll – heaviness, velvety alto vocals, and the occasional soft tune make for a rockin’ cocktail you’ll never be able to get enough of! The album has plenty of that 2010 fan-favorite “Make Me Wanna Die” vibe while adding the occasional singer-songwriter spice into the mix, which surprisingly worked. It’s sort of jagged in the sense that it quickly switches from nodding to bands like The Distillers to musicians like Taylor Swift, but the utter badassery of each track leaves you with no time to dwell on those odd transitions.
The first half of the album is exactly what you would expect it to be – drenched with thick guitar solos, all while an alto angel belts out poetic lyrical brilliance. The second half of the album gets a little “quirky,” as it showcases a 39-second long track titled “Broomsticks” and consists of a few softer, more subdued songs. Ultimately, it shows Momsen’s range as an artist and really widens the spotlight for people to admire that part of her and her talents. Technically, however, it could have been a more smooth, fluid transition between “heavy” and “calm.” The sharp transformations don’t have much of an impact on the overall enjoyability of the album in its entirety, though.
The most interesting additions to this album were “Standing At The Wall,” “Rock And Roll Heaven,” and “Harley Darling.” These are the songs that keep the album fresh and somewhat unpredictable by introducing completely different sounds into the recipe. “Harley Darling” is the final track and the only song that features a segment with a harmonica. It almost has sort of a country-rock vibe, which is the polar opposite from how the album started. “Rock And Roll Heaven” feels like a satisfying fusion of every classic rock song you’ve ever heard, and “Standing At The Wall” is soft, serene, and decorated with sorrow.
The band did a great job at subtly nodding to female rock legends, whether or not it was an intentional move. “My Bones” starts out ominously and eventually features a resemblance to Blondie‘s fan-favorite “Call Me” at about 2:30 when the song picks up a bit, and “25” has a very Lisa Hall-meets-Grace Slick feel to it. These little observations just make for more reasons why the album is simply easy to enjoy!
Death By Rock And Roll is like experiencing both the storm and the calm that follows – the album starts off hard and intense, but by the end of it you feel satisfied and almost at ease. Relatable lyrics, musical familiarity, and a lot of creativity make for an outstanding album that won’t be collecting dust any time soon!