Saturday, October 16, 2010

Taylor in Bullet Magazine: Scans and Article!

Taylor Momsen
Young and (pretty) reckless she doesn't care what you think unless it's that you love her record.

Taylor Momsen is seventeen years old. She is angst-ridden and impulsive. She is erratic, eccentric, and she’s pissed off. She is, in a word, normal. She speaks and behaves like the majority of girls her age. Luckily for most girls, these harsh years � often filled with public breakups or furious fights with their mother - are outgrown. They are then stored away in memory, sometimes so deep that they can be forgotten, or at least glossed over. Unfortunately for Momsen, she is living this unpredictable age in the spotlight. And we aren’t making it easy on her.
From cracking jokes about having sex with a Catholic priest on an Aussie radio show to forcing her tween fans’ heads to spin with a comment about Rihanna’s poser clothing choices, Momsen has been criticized for her flippant and disrespectful attitude. Because of this, the public at large has begun to watch her under a microscope, waiting to pounce on any small slip up. Yet somehow, despite her critics keeping suck a close eye on her, Momsen continues to remain at an arm’s length. The actress-turned-singer, best known for her portrayal of Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl, likes to remain ambiguous and mysterious as possible, while still making sure that the world knows what she’s all about. “I see myself as totally insane. I’m totally moody. Of course. And I’m totally out of my mind. And I’m always myself.”
Momsen, along with musicians Ben Phillips, Mark Damon, and Jamie Perkins, formed The pretty Reckless, a self-described “rock-and-roll-heroine-in-the-making” band that has just released their debut album, Light Me Up. Though reviewed by Rolling Stone as “generic,” the album debuted at #6 on the UK rocks charts, almost certainly because of Momsen’s strong, throaty vocals. Though the lyrics are lackluster and the lengthy guitar riffs overused, the album survives because Momsen forces it to fight. Her husky alto packs the punches throughout the ten-track disc, asserting her often raised opinion that she would sound utterly out of place in a comparison contest with the likes of Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift.
I was scheduled to talk to Momsen for BULLEY on an afternoon that she and The Pretty Reckless would be driving from New York to Baltimore for the first of three live performances in October. Two hours later than planned, my phone rings and I pick it up to hear screaming pervade the earpiece. “I hate you guys” Fuck you! Fuck you!”
When the squealing and giggling subside, Momsen turns her attention to me.
“We just drove right past a rest stop and I have to pee so bad,” she explains. I ask if her band mates being older men often warrants such teasing. “Sure. We’re together all the time and we’re really good friends. It’s not just a business relationship, we all like to be together.”
From there, we move on to the music. I ask her what co-writing each of the songs was like. “It was a collaborative process,” she responds. I ask her about the provocative lyrics in the first single, “Make Me Wanna Die.” “It’s a tragic love song,” she says. I ask her about her own experience with tragic love. “I don’t talk about my personal life,” she retorts. I ask her what makes her album different than any other teenage girl’s. “I have no fucking idea. I don’t analyze myself and I don’t compare myself to other people.”
Momsen’s short and snappish responses are usually followed by giggles and sighs, sweet moments shared with her bandmates that I, miles away, am excluded from. In an attempt to break her out of the one sentence answers, I brave the rocky terrain of the gossip column and ask her to speak on some of the more scandalous rumors surrounding her name. Had she, in fact, brought her newly neutered dog’s testicles into the studio to burn in a bonfire for inspiration? At this, Momsen laughs deeply. “I do love to burn things,” she says. “But my dog is a girl.” A Maltese named Petal.
When I ask about what making the record meant to her personally, Momsen becomes tripped up in her words, stumbling over sentences and taking long pauses between thoughts. “The wholes CD is me… but I don’t want you to relate the lyrics to me. Then you aren’t getting the whole picture. You should really listen to it… like, what does this song mean to you? It’s torturous… it’s not a happy record… there are a lot of conflicting ideas. But it’s not sunshine and rainbows. It’s a darker side of things, I guess you could say. It shows the way that I view the world.” In her carefully thought out description, it is obvious that Momsen, despite her tough girl attitude, is not only proud of the music she’s making, she genuinely cares about it.
It’s hard to tell whether Momsen’s fame has gone to her head in an extreme way or if it keeps her as downright teenage as a girl could possibly get.
She swears profusely, laughs wholeheartedly, and assures me that she is being exactly who she is in the most honest way possible. “Acting to singing is not a transition for me in any way, shape, or form. Writing music and singing is nothing new for me. I’ve been doing it since I was five. It’s just new for my public and how they see me. It’s a transition for them. I haven’t changed at all.” So, I prompt, the most honest Taylor Momsen we will see is the one performing her songs on stage? “Well, on stage, I’m performing. It’s another extension of myself. I mean, I don’t walk out of my bedroom in the morning with stripper heels on.”
Momsen’s attitude jumps back and forth between that of a tortured, could-care-less nymph and constrained, self-aware neurotic. She acts too cool for school and then quickly shifts into a whisper thin voice, one that sounds pensive and worried. Even in those brief moments of vulnerability, though, Momsen keeps her guard up. She is fully aware of what she says and how other may twist it. It seems that she is somewhat nonplussed as to what other people, especially the press, think of her - at least, so she’d like us to think.
Perhaps, in part, this is Momsen’s defense mechanism. Her heartfelt way of speaking about her record proves a sort of protective nature about her music. And of course she would be, considering it’s the first time she is sharing her own words with her fans. Without the fa�ade of Jenny Humphrey, Momsen is purely herself, sharing her thoughts with her own voice. One is always most careful with their own art, but allowing that sort of softness to shine through too often could ruin the rock star image that Momsen has worked so hard to promote, and it seems that she is equally as protective of that.
With a new campaign for Madonna’s clothing line, Material Girl, another season’s worth of shooting for Gossip Girl, and The Pretty Reckless remaining in the Top 10 on the UK Rock Charts, it seems that Momsen really does have little to care about other than promoting herself. If her raunchy outfits and bawdy vocabulary continue to get people talking, then why should she stop? And despite being an angry and anxious seventeen year old, she is a talented singer with a promising future. And I pity anyone who tries to get in her way.



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