Criticism | ‘Death By Rock and Roll’ marks the brilliant, punchy comeback of The Pretty Reckless

The Pretty Reckless is a band that deserves more attention than it currently gets. Sure, the American rock band has their accomplishments and hit songs, like the classic “Make Me Wanna Die” – but most listeners who appreciate the mainstream have probably never heard of them. Fortunately, 2021 is already proving to be a very interesting year for music, with the return of the duo ANAVITÓRIA with the intimate ‘Cor’ and with the obscure narrative that Jazmine Sullivan imagined for ‘Heaux Tales’. Now it’s time for ‘Death By Rock and Roll’ to dominate our playlists with a nostalgic and original ode while bringing back the best of hard rock.

If anyone told me that young performer Cindy Lou Who from “The Grinch” would become a powerful and fearless leader for a rock band, it would really be almost impossible to believe. But Taylor Momsen, who erupted in the 2000s with the adaptation of Dr Seuss’ iconic novel and soon after starred in the beloved teenage series “ Gossip Girl, ” has shown that she is an extremely entertaining artist. versatile and, since his encounter with names like Ben Phillips and Mark Damon, have demonstrated that his art is necessary and that he avoids the conventionalisms that are found so much in the contemporary scene. It is clear that, between highs and lows, The Pretty Reckless wanted to renew its arsenal of songs, betting on melancholic ballads or on impressive emancipation hymns. But would the long-awaited fourth album continue to satisfy its fans?

The answer is yes. While “ Who You Selling For, ” released in 2016, demonstrated a deep maturation of the band’s sound style, “ Death By Rock and Roll ” is an ode to the irreverence and post-grunge of the 1990s. , revisited with modern features, be it for lyrical, or for passionate guitar solos. The title song, which opens what we would call the masterpiece of this iconic musical act, had already entered our list of the best songs of the last year, only to renew itself with unspeakable beauty in a metalinguistic narrative about this. that we want to leave to the world. and how we live our life. Jonathan Wyman’s nearly flawless production is brilliant from start to finish and, except for a few rehearsals, no one is happy with what happened.

It is customary for the first track on the album to set the tone for what one would expect from any phonographic journey aftermath – but Momsen, taking the creative reins of an exuberant and welcome resurrection, shows that he does not need to attach. to all links. We have the stylistic cohesion that unites forays into a universe that celebrates death and despises life, and that is steeped in social criticism and messages of liberation. In “And So It Went”, the lead singer collaborates with guitarist Tom Morello, of “Rage Against the Machine”, for a tragic plot in which “the children lost their reason, crying for forgiveness”; in “25,” the theme repeats itself in a compelling reflection that harbors similarities to “Skyfall” and other songs in the “James Bond” franchise, despite the frustrated incompleteness of its chorus.

The extravagant moments explode voluntarily and abundantly on twelve beautiful tracks – and the first glimpse of this capricious inflection occurs in “Broomsticks”, a sort of interlude which closes in on itself, but which, at the same time, prepares us for the ten. -eighth breathtaking journey of “Witches Burn”, one of the production highlights which is guided by Taylor’s voice and which restricts guitar and bass to the atmospheric background. In the plot, the singer sees an unscrupulous woman who will not be diminished by other people and who has cataclysmic destructive power – reflected in a full, well-structured vocal range. “Turning Gold” embraces certain elements of Arab pop for a familiar and uplifting country-rock architecture – which also reveals one of the best pre-choruses the band has ever delivered through verses that speak of the inexorability of time.

Momsen knows very well when to slow down – and he does so with a standing ovation over and over. “Got So High” is a journey (no pun intended) that demonstrates the inevitability of the rise and fall of a lyrical self that wants to free itself from worldly deprivation, sinning only through the connivance of simplicity and the consistency of its repetitions. In “Standing at the Wall” follows a similar construction, giving way to a ballad watered by the orchestral echoes of the cello and marked by the melody of the guitar. But it’s the last two tracks that invade our hearts because of the strength of his lyrics and the tributes they pay to the late Kato Khandwala. “Rock and Roll Heaven” is a direct continuation of the opening track which brings elements of Jo Dee Messina and Shania Twain to a very nostalgic convergence; “Harley Darling,” in turn, evokes memories of a loved one who left too early and looks to the country with admirable respect.

Enjoy watching:

The Pretty Reckless finds life in the midst of devastation from the moment he sees death and what exists after it as a mere continuation of our brief adventure on Earth. “Death By Rock and Roll” is a brilliant and enigmatic work that opens the first quarter of the year in style and, in the end, is a pleasant and engaging musical gem.

Rating per track:

01. Death By Rock And Roll – 4.5 / 5
02. Only Love Can Save Me Now feat. Matt Cameron and Kim Thayil – 4/5
03. And So It Went feat. Tom Morello – 4.5 / 5
04. 25 – 3/5
05. My bones – 3.5 / 5
06. I’m so high – 4/5
07. Brooms – 4.5 / 5
08. Witches burn – 5/5
09. Standing on the wall – 4/5
10. Make gold – 5/5
11. Rock and Roll Heaven – 5/5
12. Harley Darling – 4.5 / 5

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