Album Reviews

The Donnas – Spend The Night

(Atlantic) UK release date: 7 April 2003

The Donnas - Spend The Night The Donnas have been objects of cult adoration since they were 16-year-olds playing under-produced, Ramones-styled pop-punk and wearing deliberately kitsch, matching sparkly T-shirts. Now, it seems that they are ready for the big time. With the financial muscle of Atlantic Records behind this, their third album, gone is the lo-fi sound, and in its place is a revamped, rabble-rousing, rock ‘n’ roll riot.

It is fair to say that the new-look Donnas have only one song. But, as the cliché goes, what a song it is. Spend The Night features 13 tracks that are all based on the same template – big, sleazy guitar riffs that rock enough for credibility without getting too heavy to alienate the masses, sing-along choruses, short guitar solos and knowingly hilarious lyrics that gush forth ‘femachismo’.

You won’t find supposedly intelligent political statements here or self-pitying introspection. Spend The Night is the musical and lyrical soundtrack to Saturday nights out as a teenager. Consequently, the only ‘issues’ being addressed are those of giving the middle finger to unsuitable gents (“your hair is so dirt-ee, it makes you look like you’re thirt-ee”), slagging off party-poopers (“we don’t care if you had more fun in Sunday School”), giving guys the come-on (the self-explanatory Take Me To The Backseat) and berating themselves for falling in too deep (“well I must’ve had too many Diet Cokes ’cause I’m laughing at all your stupid jokes”).

In the cold light of day, it is not unreasonable to conclude that Spend The Night is merely a ridiculously-delayed reaction to the male, sexual posturing of ’80s hair metal bands like Poison and Mötley Crüe, and executed without an ounce of musical evolution. However, the point is that Spend The Night is not supposed to be listened to in the cold light of day. It is destined for pre-clubbing expeditions, late-night frat parties and evenings of cheap beer and Bacardi breezers. With the benefit of such haze-tinted spectacles, Spend The Night is difficult not to like.

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The Donnas – Spend The Night