Jack White's raw power and deceptively simple guitar-and-vocal attack proved to be highly influential on the now 16-year-old Momsen, who began humming melodies before she could talk and writing songs at the age of five after falling in love with The Beatles. "I was obsessed with them," she says. "I also loved Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, Audioslave, Soundgarden, Oasis, and Nirvana. That's what I listened to. My rock idols are all men."
So it's not surprising that Momsen channels a lot of masculine energy on LIGHT ME UP, her rock-and-roll-heroine-in-the-making debut album with her band The Pretty Reckless. The songs, all written by Momsen and Ben Phillips with their producer Kato Khandwala, run the gamut of emotions, alternating at times between seething rage and a bruised vulnerability. With Momsen's inky vocals, pummeling riffs, and swaggering attitude, LIGHT ME UP sounds a bit like what might have happened had Led Zeppelin been fronted by "a chick." The album's ferocity could raise an eyebrow from those expecting a pretty, blonde teenager to gravitate toward straight-up pop songwriting. "It's heavier than people might expect from me," says Momsen, who is best known as the actress who plays Jenny Humphrey on The CW's Gossip Girl. "But this album is the most honest expression of who I truly am."
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