The Pretty Reckless — Death by Rock and Roll — Album Review

Joe Boothby
3 min readFeb 16, 2021

Hard Rock | Country Rock

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Until very recently, It felt weird to know that the only real thing I knew about The Pretty Reckless, was the fact that the lead singer of the New York rock band, Taylor Momsen, was the very same person who played Cindy Lou in the live action movie adaptation of The Grinch. Consequently, I knew that the band existed, but with 2021 still being a pretty fresh year, it felt like an appropriate time for me to finally get into their music.

My first taste of what to expect from their newest effort, and fourth studio album, Death by Rock and Roll, which came to my attention a few weeks before the album’s release, was the title track for the upcoming record. I initially listened to this track with skeptical ears. Not that its any fault of the band at all, but many artists in the past, who have attempted to tackle the rock’n’roll aesthetic, have made it seem incredibly cheap for the most part. The biggest case and point of this would be something like Green Day’s Father Of All…; my least favourite album of 2019.

But having now looked back on how The Pretty Reckless have refined their style of hard rock with each album they put out, it made sense that this title track felt extremely polished. What this leading title anthem would ultimately share with this albums highlights, is that it’s not trying to be hard rock, but is hard rock. The Pretty Reckless have succeeded at creating truly compelling anthems on this album, without even breaking a sweat.

Particularly at the start of Death by Rock and Roll, it blew my mind with how the band have really captured the hard rock aesthetic that wouldn’t have felt out of place during the decade where heavier genres were at an all-time high. And yet, it still feels like it fits in today’s musical climate, which very few modern rock ’n’ roll artists can truly boast.

Fortunately, for those who aren’t that keen on heavy music, Death by Rock and Roll carries quite a generous handful of tracks that feel noticeably more mellow and downbeat, fitting more in the realm of country music. But with the americanised aesthetic feeling as strong as it does on this album, the two different flavours of style we get on the album don’t feel too distant from one-another.

I unfortunately feel that things do slightly feel a bit more predictable, the further I got into the album, and I would say that the more country-inspired tracks do feel slightly more typical composition-wise than the heavier tunes, but maybe that might just be my own personal tastes throwing a bit of subconscious bias into this review.

But considering that this is my first ever real listen of The Pretty Reckless, I am, for the most part, very impressed with what this album has to offer. If you’re looking for a hard rock album in 2021 that truly shines like a diamond in the coal, Death by Rock and Roll might just be your kind of poison.

Favourite Tracks: Death by Rock and Roll | And So It Went | My Bones

Least Favourite Track: Got So High

Goin’ Down | Century Media Records

Enjoyment: 8/10 | Memorability: 7/10 | Atmosphere: 8/10

Uniqueness: 8/10 | Satisfaction: 7/10 | Narrative: 7/10

Final Score: 8/10



Joe Boothby

My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.