Hell remains a source
of inspiration for all kinds of art. It's impossible to
even catalog how many books, movies, plays, and records have been written on
the subject. However, the world's fascination with the big ole inferno never
dwindles or dissipates.
The Pretty Reckless' second full-length album Going to Hell flirts with those
themes, most notably on the raucous and roaring title track. Over a twisting and
turning riff and bombastic rhythm, frontwoman Taylor Momsen confidently
announces, "I'm going to Hell."
"We had so many insane things happening in our lives, we wanted to sum
everything up in one phrase," she recalls. "Going to Hell felt really appropriate. I
grew up Catholic and did the whole Catholic school thing, so it's in my
vernacular. We used religion as a metaphor, but the track relates to problems
everyone faces. I think this is the perfect time for us to be doing what we're
Even if the making of Going to Hell often felt like some kind of divine prank, one
senses this is their moment. After two years on the road The Pretty Reckless—
Momsen, Ben Phillips [guitar], Mark Damon [bass], and Jamie Perkins [drums]—
had risen through rock 'n' roll's ranks to become a profound, and
often polarizing, presence. The quartet sold over 350,000 albums and over 1
million digital tracks performing as headliners all around the globe
and supporting acts such as Guns N' Roses and Marilyn Manson.
Finally in September 2012, the band returned to Water Music Studios in New
Jersey to begin recording what would become their sophomore set with producer
Kato Khandwala. They had recorded much of their album when tragedy struck
as Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast.
"The record was really coming together, and then this fucking hurricane takes out
the studio and everything we had," said Phillips. "Six feet of water destroyed our
room, and half-a-million dollars of gear was sitting in a pile of sewage and
sludge. Almost everything we had was wiped out in one fell swoop."
Momsen continues, "We were devastated... and then seeing New York City
completely black was pretty crazy. For streets and streets, there was nothing
but darkness. That's when we wrote the title track... it was all pretty intense."
Equally intense is the upcoming single "Heaven Knows". A big arena-size beat
resounds as Momsen's seductive snarl echoes, while she simultaneously
conducts a choir of school kids.
On another track, the acoustic strum of "Burn" singes with raw power, while
"Sweet Things" nods to Stanley Kubrick with its Lolita-style tale and
Momsen's haunting croon. She reveals, "It's a dark, turned-around, and twisted
Ultimately GOING TO HELL is rock 'n' roll in its purest form. The Pretty Reckless
holds nothing back. "We did this album with the mindset of having no
boundaries,"Momsen concludes. "We didn't follow any formulas or
trends. We said anything we wanted to say. This is us."