Album Review: The Pretty Reckless - Death by Rock and Roll

Elizabeth Meade dishes out her opinion on this senior LP from rock outfit The Pretty Reckless.

Elizabeth Meade
22nd February 2021
The music of The Pretty Reckless is more aimed at entertainment value than making a point, and as a fan of their work, I typically enjoy this. However, having listened my way around the world of modern rock, I can't help but think that nearly everything on Death by Rock and Roll has been done before, and, more importantly, better.

As a listener who enjoys a few themes, I can listen to lots of songs about independence, nostalgia, fire or anti-capitalism, as long as they're good; simply having been done before doesn't make a topic bad. However, when a clearly-derivative work is done badly, it seems more like a money-grab and an attempt to capitalize on a topic or subgenre currently popular.

"When a clearly-derivative work is done badly, it seems more like a money-grab and an attempt to capitalize on a topic or subgenre currently popular."

Death by Rock and Roll does this repeatedly. The titular song is a classic 'we're not like other people, we like to rock!' song, only without the anthemic quality of the most iconic songs with that theme ('I Like It Heavy' by Halestorm comes to mind.) 'And So It Went,' trying to stay relevant, alludes to the evils of capitalism but doesn't make any clear statements. 'Broomsticks' and 'Witches Burn' are clearly designed to appeal to the modern fascination with witchcraft and a vague theme of female independence. 'Rock and Roll Heaven' and 'Harley Darling' are typical tributes to classic rock greats and motorcycling, but remain unmemorable.

That said, the album does have a few stronger pieces - '25,' 'Got So High' and 'Standing at the Wall' are reflective, introspective songs that, while derivative, still feel personal and original, and more importantly have well-crafted, memorable composition. Fans of the band will probably find something to enjoy in the album, while those who prefer something that takes more creative risks should probably skip it.

(2/5)

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AUTHOR: Elizabeth Meade
Science sub-ed and Chemistry major. Avid reader. Chaos theorist. Amateur batrachologist and historian. Rock fan. Likes cybersecurity and cooking.

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