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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Amerena

'Going to Hell' - Controversy

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

It was the album art that caught me by surprise when my long awaited CD came in the mail. Her bare back faced the camera, a black cross drawn in thick paint following down the contour of her spine to her buttocks. To the left the title was in bold white lettering, "Going to Hell." Once again the band The Pretty Reckless put forth an album that pushed the status quo, from the art to the title. There has been much controversy about the album, hundreds of interviews and articles trying to understand why lead singer Taylor Momsen (former Gossip Girl) would pose in such a way. However nobody touches on the connection I saw between her picture with the music itself.

Momsen compares her art to that of John Lennon's album 2 Virgins where he and his wife were shown completely naked (frontal view as opposed to the back view Momsen chose). She debates that the purpose was to show a deeper meaning, not to cause an uproar or shock their fan base. "I don't think John Lennon was trying to shock people when he was naked on 2 Virgins. He was just trying to be honest and raw as he could and that's what my intent is with nudity." (Rolling Stone Magazine) Momsen wanted to show the world for what it was, just like she did with her songs like 'Heaven Knows', 'Fucked up World' and of course 'Going to Hell'.

With all the trouble the band went through to finish the album, including the death of a close friend and hurricane Sandy wrecking the studio and equipment, Momsen wanted a different take with her second album. The inspiration for their songs came from the pain and suffering they witnessed during their previous tour. "The power lies in the few and then you witness so much poverty, depression and repression and it changed my perspective on everything. I came back and thought, it’s a fucked up world." (The Daily Beast) Just like the "honest and raw" pose on the cover, her lyrics do the same. "It's a fucked up world. What do you get? Sex and love and guns like a cigarette." Momsen and her band achieved their goal, the songs make you think and see life in a new light, something most songs today lack. The instrumentals draw you in and Momsen's voice keeps you there. There isn't one song on the album I didn't like, both music and lyrics, which in my opinion is the greatest thing a band can do.


Copyright © 2014 by Danielle Cooper, published by tBubble

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