The women of Warped: Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless
(With the Vans Warped Tour returning to St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park on Friday, for the second year in a row, we're spending this week getting to know some of the women on punk's most pop-friendly summer tour. First up: Taylor Momsen, the teenage singer of The Pretty Reckless and one of the stars of the CW's Gossip Girl.)
Age: 16, turning 17 on July 26
Most recent album: The Pretty Reckless EP
You’ll dig them if you also like: Flyleaf, AFI, The Kills
Their story: One imagines Taylor Momsen campaigned pretty hard to land the role of Cherie Currie in The Runaways. All the pieces are there: The blond hair, the model looks, the overt jailbait sexuality, the penchant for badass rock 'n' roll.
The role, of course, went to Dakota Fanning. But for Momsen, the pieces are still there in real life.
Momsen, 16, has been a child model and well-known actress since 2000, when she starred as Cindy Lou Who in Ron Howard's big-screen adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Today she's best known as the scheming Jenny Humphrey on the teen soap Gossip Girl.
A few years ago, Momsen's dad took her to a White Stripes concert, and she decided to start a band, pulling together a handful of veteran rock musicians to record a few songs. Ever since, she's become the latest poster child for girls going wild just a little too fast.
Look, here's Momsen smoking onstage! Here's Momsen in "stripper heels!" Here's Momsen flashing her underwear! Here's Momsen looking like a strung-out raccoon at a club show in New York! Here's Momsen singing a song titled Goin' Down, featuring the lyrics, "I'm just 16 if you know what I mean / Do you mind if I take off my dress?"
"I write it all," Momsen told MTV News. "I'm completely involved. You're hearing my life, so you're hearing my diaries."
Oy. You know you have a potential PR disaster on your hands when people are writing stories like "Miley Cyrus or Taylor Momsen: Who's worse?"
Still, by spending all summer on the Warped Tour, Momsen is making a serious bid for rock legitimacy. "That girl can actually rock," Spin wrote last year. "Looking like Debbie Harry and singing like Kim Carnes doing Karen O., Momsen showcased the potential to build a following among those who'd feel more comfortable listening to L7 or Sleater-Kinney than relating to any character on Gossip Girl."
Says The Frisky: "She has a surprisingly big voice for a 16-year-old waif; although, it still seems she's still trying too hard to sell us on her punkness by alluding to drug use and underage sex in her lyrics."
Hey, that's not bad. Maybe if she sticks it out, she'll have a longer musical career than Leighton "Good Girls Go Bad" Meester.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*