Buying a CD from a television star’s band generally means listening to thirty-five minutes of songs about boys and glitter. On September 7, 2010, The Pretty Reckless will be releasing their debut album, Light Me Up, only a few months after their self-titled EP. Recorded simultaneously with the EP and with the same producer, Kato Khandwala, the album features some of the same songs along with a bunch of new tracks. The album cover displays a blonde toddler with an uncanny resemblance to the band’s vocalist, Taylor Momsen, clad in a leather coat holding up a lighter, hence Light Me Up. However, the innocent cover is the only innocence one will find throughout the entire album.
The first track, My Medicine, opens with a cigarette being lit and a puff of smoke getting blown out. Momsen clears her throats and lets her raw voice mix with soft guitar strums before picking it up at the chorus. For those who have never listened to The Pretty Reckless before may be shocked by the mature content of drugs and sex that the song consists of. Momsen prides herself on not being like every other sixteen year old, and this song backs that up and prepares the listener for what’s to come. The song was the third track of the band’s EP, and seems to be the same recording as well.
Since You’re Gone is a new track about breaking up and being quite okay with it. Not to be confused with Kelly Clarkson’s Since U Been Gone, the song has a similar storyline, but with Momsen’s rock ‘n’ roll flair. It talks about life moving alone “quite nicely, actually” without one’s significant other. The song talks about how when the cheating, lying lover finally leaves, Momsen copes with a little help from her new “lover”, Gin. A short and to-the-point song, the chorus, “Since you been gone/My life has moved along quite nicely, actually” repeats often, ending the track with “thanks for asking,” a clear stab at the ex.
Track number four is the title track, Light Me Up. Although slower than many of the other songs on the album, the track is consistent with the rock roots that got Momsen into this business. The song confronts the criticism made about her and simply needing a pick-me-up. Light Me Up refers to needing some uplifting, in the chorus Taylor sings “Do you have a light, can you make me feel alright/There’s plenty of light to go around/If you think it’s right when you hit me to the ground/Well light me up when I’m down/Light me up when I’m down.” Whether having a light refers to a smile to make her happy or a match to light her beloved cigarettes, Momsen gets her message that she’s only human and thinks about changing, but honestly doesn’t want to be anything other than who she is.
Nothing to Lose slows the album down to a ballad. The song covers a mature topic of dating with a ten-year age difference. The nineteen year old character that Momsen plays in the song sings of “late night sex, smokin’ cigarettes” with her twenty-nine year old lover and thinking back on it, “in a heartbeat/I would do it all again.” However, she soon sees that she and her lover were never meant to be. She has lost all sight of who she was and who she is, and now feels that she’s “got nothing left to lose.”
The album closes with an acoustic track. You which shows off Momsen’s voice and softer side. The track is beautiful, with violins and guitar strums, it’s Momsen’s lullaby of a love song. The song is about wanting someone who doesn’t feel the same back. The track is relatable and enjoyable for all ages, and helps the listener remember that Momsen is only sixteen, stripping off all the makeup and rock ‘n’ roll front, leaving a vulnerable lost soul. You lets the listener see the other side of the Gossip Girl star, a side that will hopefully be seen more in the future.
Light Me Up is a fantastic first album from The Pretty Reckless. A thoroughly enjoyable and memorable list of songs, I have a feeling they will be stuck in my head for quite some time. If you’re a fan of Paramore or a fan of something heavier like Halestorm, there’s at least one song on this album that you’ll fall in love with. It’s definitely worth picking up, and on September 7, it will be available throughout the country. Go pick up a copy at your local Best Buy, F.Y.E., or even online on Amazon or iTunes.
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Recommended Tracks: Make Me Wanna Die, Light Me Up, Miss Nothing, Just Tonight, You
For Fans Of: Halestorm, Flyleaf, VersaEmerge, Evanescence, Paramore