Going For The Gold
The Donnas have been called a female version of The Ramones, a punkish, rock-n-roll quartet of attitudinal women. However, with their newest release Gold Medal, they may finally shed that stereotype.The Donnas’ image has changed as much as their sound. They’ve discarded their name gimmick of Donnas A, C, F and R. In their debut self-titled album, they were pictured as the epitome of girls who didn’t give a damn. Even up until their last release Spend the Night, their breakout album, they kept their slightly gritty, yet powerful “don’t fuck with us, we’ll fuck with you” demeanor. Now the promotional photos of The Donnas show them wearing popular vintage outfits with perfectly curled hair, and compared to their former single “Take It Off” that helped launch them to fame, the tracks on Gold Medal are pure pop.
This is not to say that the album is bad, simply different. Their sound is no longer for a chick-rock crowd, but has been polished for a more mainstream audience. Hence the Ramones style being shed in lieu of other influences that the group has cited: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Dolly Parton, among others.
The Donnas claim that they have simply pulled out all the stops and grown up a little, but certainly production by Butch Walker (Avril Lavigne) helps that poppy sensibility. The melodies are more clean-cut and peppy, and singer Brett Anderson has traded in her attractively throaty dive-bar sound for a smoother, sweeter tonality.
In the end Gold Medal is enjoyable, even if (or perhaps thanks to) being far different than where The Donnas started out in high school.