Review #283: Bad Girls, Donna Summer

Karla Clifton
3 min readMay 30, 2022

#283: Bad Girls, Donna Summer

Donna Summer is a name I’ve heard before (mainly on Bob’s Burgers), but I can’t say I’ve listened to her before. So I took a deep breath and prepared to enter the Red Light District.

The RS blurb says that this record sees the Queen of Disco embracing rock and roll music, working with longtime producer Giorgio Moroder. It took me a while to place that name until it suddenly hit me: I recognize it from Daft Punk’s song “Giorgio by Moroder” on Random Access Memories (#295! See you soon!). I love catching connections like that. It gave me a deeper appreciation for the music under Summer’s incredible voice. (We’ll get to that.) “Can’t Get To Sleep At Night” has a freaking squeegee keyboard, and somehow “Our Love” sounds both futuristic and firmly rooted in the Eighties. “Lucky” makes Summer sound like an angel DJing a rave.

Even though this is all disco, there’s an urgent beat (and often a sick electric guitar) that makes everything feel like you could also headbang to it. The song that rocks the hardest, hands down, is “Hot Stuff” which is all about Donna trying to get laid. I live for the part when her backup singers call her Hot! Hot! Hot! Hot! Stuuuuuff! Title track “Bad Girls” follows street walkers on their way to work, as potential customers go Toot toot! Beep beep! (Which is, by the way, an interpolation from the song “Bang Bang” by the Joe Cuba Sextet.)

We also rarely get albums that are all about horniness. (Can’t wait til we see Prince again.) In fact, I would say that these songs are exclusively about how horny Donna Summer is. “Dim All The Lights” is probably the most offensive: She instructs her lover to take her bottom to top. WHAT?! Donna, you dog. “One Night In A Lifetime” isn’t quite so dirty, but it’s got the spirit.

Now, I have friends that grew up loving Seventies pop. I’m not one of those people. I came to Seventies pop the way I came to all other kinds of pop: kicking and screaming. I’m still acclimating, and the Seventies power ballad continues to elude me. So unfortunately, dear readers, I cannot wax poetic about “On My Honor,” “There Will Always Be A You,” “My Baby Understands,” or “All Through The Night.” Although it is pretty hilarious when Donna whisper-asks us Can you feel the magic?

This record was over 70 freaking minutes long, which is a lot when you still have 200 albums to get through. That made the last song, “Sunset People,” supremely, tortuously annoying. I was so into the beat, the bassline, the schwoops, but then oh my God, she repeats the chorus fifty times. Suuuuunseeeet peeeeeeopllllle/Doin’ it right! Night after night! Ad infinitum. Like many others who enter the Red Light District, I had a good time, but I’m ready to leave, and maybe take a shower.

Songs For A Good Dose of Horns: “Love Will Always Find You” and “Walk Away.”

Song Where She Sounds Most Like Lady Gaga: “Journey to the Center of Your Heart.”

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