I won’t lie- I love The Donnas. Are they derivative? Yes. Are the fun? Absolutely yes!
On what ended up being their last all original album, The Donnas slightly shifted gears into a harder-rock/metal sound. I say slightly, because they had already shown their appreciation for the genre by covering KISS and Judas Priest. Here, they go all in on the role.
I began this review with the issue of derivativeness. When the band formed, they took great influence from The Ramones, not only in musical form, but persona as well. They played short punk-pop as Donna A., Donna R., etc. As time went on, they expanded their musical pallet and identity. On first listen, what stands out most from Bitchin’ is the possible sense of regression, as certain passages almost seem lifted from Black Sabbath or Def Leppard. Each instance is well intended and works perfectly fine without plagiarizing. Part of the fun is noticing familiar sound effects and song structures.
Most of the fun, however, comes from the fact that this is a great album all around! Every song is nothing less than catchy and rocking. While on the surface, these might seem like simple party songs, there is a plethora of emotions woven throughout. Deep passion, desperation, and uncertainty are sung about refreshingly candidly and respectfully. Quite a feat for such a bombastic album, especially one that wears its influences on its sleeve, but remains intrinsically its own.
I highly recommend this album, and not just for metal lovers. If I can’t convince you to pick up the entire album, definitely get the tracks “What Do I Have To Do” and “Love You Till It Hurts”. Both are must haves for me.
Also, important to note, the various regional, vinyl, and downloadable versions have different bonus track options including a cover of “The Safety Dance”, and the great track “Can’t Keep It a Secret”.
P.S.- I’m new at blogging, so here’s the ineloquent amazon associates disclaimer:
“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”
Basically, if you use my link to buy the album, I get a small cut!