Top 10 Songs by The Donnas

The Donnas in 2002

For that special someone who asked… why not make this a blog post?  If you’ve liked girl groups like The Runaways here are the songs that tell you everything you need to know about Palo Alto’s very own The Donnas.

This list is presented chronologically to show the musical evolution of the group. My own personal preferences will be reflected in the writeup.

1. “Skintight” from Get Skintight

Good representative from their punk-influenced early records. Mix of The Ramones and The Runaways with a very frantic beat. Singer Brett Anderson’s voice hasn’t really evolved much beyond nasal screaming, but the group is tight as they’ll ever be and the song features an awesome guitar solo from Allison Roberton.

2. “40 Boys in 40 Nights” from The Donnas Turn 21

You could substitute “Are You Going to Move it For Me” or “Do You Wanna Hit It” from this album as they are musically and thematically similar. The subject matter of “40 Boys” is straightfoward (“I’ve got boys helping me unload”) but there’s a more hard-rock feel to go along with the high-energy beat. The cowbell played by drummer Tory Castellano is a great addition.

3. “Don’t Get Me Busted” from Turn 21

My favorite Donnas song hands down. This song wears it’s AC/DC influences on it’s sleeve. Big, gigantic guitar riff on this song.

4. “Take it Off” from Spend the Night

The group’s biggest hit on their first major label release. The Donnas were the “it” group back in 2002.  This one has a tad more alternative rock feel and has another classic line: “Stop staring at my D-Cup.” Great bass line from Maya Ford.

5. “Who Invited You” from Spend the Night

You could grab any song from Spend the Night for this slot, but I chose this song since it has one of Robertson’s best guitar solos. Also, a great bass line and more cowbell!  Spend the Night is probably the group’s signature album and overall most consistent.

6. “Fall Behind Me” from Gold Medal

The group’s lead single and another great shredder. But check the much better production on Anderson’s vocals compared to the group’s early tracks. There’s a much more complex arrangement of layered music on this track, representative of the group’s artistic growth on this album.

7. “Revolver” from Gold Medal

I really wish this song had become a monster hit. Nominally a rare ballad from the group, but still with signature lyrical elements (“half cocked and fully loaded.. You’re into me but shooting blanks…).

8. “Don’t Break Me Down” from Gold Medal

A mid-tempo rocker with hard-rock influences and a very heavy bass line. Some good call/response vocals during the chorus as well.

9. “Don’t Wait Up for Me” from Bitchin’

Gold Medal didn’t sell very well and Atlantic dropped The Donnas. They returned three years later with an indie release that veered strongly in a heavy metal direction. This song would have felt right at home on the Sunset Strip in 1988. Big, powerful vocal sound and a crunchy metal riff.

10. “Get Off” from The Donnas: Greatest Hits

I’m not a fan of this compilation album, as it leans heavily on the early punk-influenced songs and worse creates a strange contrast with new songs in the vein of Bitchin’. The standout new track is “Get Off” that has some pretty amusing lyrics (“Why can’t you take me to the top? Get off of me!”).

The Donnas have a number of great cover song as well. “Living After Midnight” from Turn 21 and “Dancing with Myself” from the Mean Girls soundtrack being two standouts. Both of which fit right into The Donnas party-oriented and “rocking and rolling” themes.

With original drummer Tory Castellano leaving group due to a shoulder issue it remains to be seen what will happen to The Donnas. I’m looking forward to their next release.