The most buzzed-about of the new buzz-saw-rock bands are the Donnas, four California girls who went so far as to adopt the same first name as a way of honoring the Ramones, who gave themselves the same last name. On Spend the Night, their fourth album (released in October but just breaking through now), they pay homage to their forebears in another way, too: They write and sing kicky, intentionally coarse tunes with titles that say it all. ”I Don’t Care (So There),” ”All Messed Up,” and ”You Wanna Get Me High” could easily have been the names of Ramones songs.
The Donnas aim to be hard-partying rockers who know what they want and want it now. Their songs, which at best have the dumb-fun appeal of a Joan Jett hit and at worst are forgettably rote, aren’t laments or tirades but empowered commands: ”Don’t wanna go to the mall/Don’t wanna go to the movies/Think we’ve done it all/Just take me to the backseat,” goes one chorus. Unlike their heroes’, The Ramones, their music is closer to power-pop metal than to ’70s skinny-tie rock, and as with records by upstart peers like Good Charlotte, ”Spend the Night” is less about toppling the establishment than giddily tweaking it – which says as much about the robust new incarnation of punk as it does about the Donnas.