Remember The Pretty Reckless? Taylor Momsen’s coon-eye’d, stripper heel’d move to break away from her cutesy role as Gossip Girl‘s Jenny Humphrey? Although she was subject to mass criticism from uppity rockists and pretentious music critics alike, TPR spawned some seriously major tracks, like “Since You’re Gone,” and unforgettable moments in pop culture.
I remember seeing her perform live at Warped Tour 2010, where she had to be helped onto stage by two security guards because of those towering gun-heeled shoes—amazing—and once on stage, took a single puff of her cigarette before nonchalantly tossing it into the crowd of sweaty scene kids—very cool.
“I’ll never be good enough,” she wailed above her band of old bearded dudes—obviously sourced studio musicians—as we all screamed in response with mindless self-loathing.
Warped Tour 2010
They all said Momsen’s look was just a phase, but boy were they wrong. The artwork for TPR’s forthcoming LP, Who You Selling For, is clear proof that this existential, emo aesthetic is still as relevant today as it was 6 years ago—at least to Momsen. The cover, revealed today, features a sepia-hued, grainy sketch of a slumped over figure that truthfully looks like it was ripped from a middle schooler’s notebook. (Britney Spears’ painful Glory cover actually looks good in comparison).
While this vibe may have been passable creative when jet-black hair, Hot Topic and Gloomy Bears were culturally relevant in suburban streets across the country, it’s certainly not the elevated feel you’d expect now a third studio album into TPR’s discography. The treatment is much more Myspace than it is mature, but not in the cool, self-aware way—mall goth can be done well and it has, but this is not the way.
We’re still, however, very excited for the album, due out Oct. 31 via Razor & Tie; Momsen is still one of the most unsung vocalists in music today.