Released: Mar 18, 2014
Genre: Alternative Rock, Hard Rock
Label: Razor & Tie, Cooking Vinyl
Number Of Tracks: 12
New music from The Pretty Reckless hits the spot, providing classic blues rock with just enough grit to make it flirt with the label of heavy rock.
Going To HellFeatured review by: UG Team, on march 18, 2014 4 of 7 people found this review helpful
Sound: Taylor Momsen formed The Pretty Reckless in 2009, and released their debut album shortly after and then 2 EPs over the next few years. While Taylor has unfortunately gotten more attention for showing skin, The Pretty Reckless has remained a solid band, with solid songwriting, and "Going to Hell" continues to prove this. "Going to Hell" has 12 tracks, though there are several different "deluxe" packages with different bonus tracks included. The standard version's 12 tracks clock in at just a little over 45 minutes. There have been 3 singles released from the album, "Kill Me" in December 2012, the title track "Going to Hell" in September 2013, and "Heaven Knows" in November 2013. Oddly enough, the single "Kill Me" is only available on the Japanese edition of the album. All the songs were written by Taylor Momsen or Taylor and Ben Phillips working together.
The album opens up with the track "Follow Me Down," which opens with Taylor making sex sounds with sirens in the background, which is slightly off-putting, but once the music comes in it is a strong track. The use of quiet/loud dynamics on the track is very effective for creating the mood the song is trying to build. The title track, "Going to Hell," is up next and is a pretty straight forward rocker with some fun lead guitar work included. "Heaven Knows" uses a lot of clapping and stomping and gang vocals, giving it a very epic vibe. "House on a Hill" starts out with a heartbeat and an acoustic guitar, and is probably one of the more impressive tracks on the album, though definitely not when of the heavier tracks. "Sweet Things" is a heavier track, which is very riff-based, and has a male guest vocalist helping with the vocals on the track. The vocals run the gamut on the track from very melodic singing to screamed metal-style lyrics. The next track is a very short track called "Dear Sister" which clocks in at under a minute, and is basically just an acoustic guitar and Taylor's voice with some processing added to both. "Absolution" starts with a neat little acoustic blues lick, and builds into a track that really fits into the mold of what I think of as The Pretty Reckless' signature sound. "Blame Me" seems like it is trying to go a little more in the direction of some alt rock than the rest of the album, which isn't a bad thing, but you can definitely feel the album take a turn. "Burn" has an almost country feel to it in the beginning of the track, with an acoustic guitar and some straight forward vocals. "Why'd You Bring a Shotgun to the Party" is a heavier track which starts out with the sound of a shotgun being cocked. The song uses a lot of silence to build the ambience which helps make this a very interesting track. "F--ked Up World" is one of the more "driving" tracks on the album, which is primarily pushed by the percussion, and oddly enough, the tambourine. The album closes out with the track "Waiting for a Friend," which is another track that almost sounds a little bit country, but in the most positive way it can sound country, if that makes any sense. // 8
Lyrics: Taylor has a great voice for The Pretty Reckless' particular brand of hard blues rock, and as a listener I can find very little to complain about. While she does mostly stay in a certain range and style of vocals, there is the occasional foray into more unknown territory, such as some more metal screams on "Sweet Things," and some more vulnerable vocals on tracks like "House on a Hill" and "Dear Sister." As a sample of the lyrics, here are some from the title track "Going to Hell": "Father did you miss me/ I've been locked up a while/ I got caught for what I did but took it all in style/ laid to rest all my confessions I gave way back when/ now I'm versed in so much worse/ so I am back again/ and he said/ for the lines that I take/ I'm going to hell/ for the love that I make/ I'm going to hell/ getting heavy with the devil/ you can hear the wedding bells." Definitely some slightly dark lyrics, but goes back to a long tradition of hell-raising blues musician style of lyrics. // 8
Overall Impression: My main gripe with The Pretty Reckless is I feel like they use Taylor Momsen's sexuality to sell their music too much and a lot of people are going to overlook that they are a really solid band for this reason. Unfortunately, a lot of people can't look past that image and that is why The Pretty Reckless, as well as Halestorm and a few other similar female-fronted bands, will never be taken completely seriously by a certain group of listeners. I personally was impressed with this album, as I have been by their previous album and their EPs. My favorite tracks from the album would probably be "Sweet Things," "House on a Hill," "Burn," "F--ked Up World," and "Waiting for a Friend." I felt like the album definitely showed another side to the band. I would like to see the band depend less on Taylor's image in the future so they can instead depend on her ample skill. // 8