Donna closes the loop. It is my most personal song on After Vengeance. A song that very nearly uprooted an already rootless man. Musically, I’d never done anything like this: an electronic rock anthem that pushes and pushes and doesn’t relent. Lyrically, it’s about the loss of my family. My own mistakes. My pain, anger and denial. Almost all the songs thus far were recorded in one take: digital technology makes it too easy to end up with infinite possibilities. I wanted to get it right, with the right emotions, and if I didn’t exactly put Freddie Mercury to shame that was fine. I sang with feeling.
On Donna, there was so much feeling that I would break down when singing the chorus. So I had to keep singing until I couldn’t cry anymore. “You didn’t love me then. You never loved me at all”. Denial yes? And then bargaining and remorse. “Angel, oh my angel, I never meant to hurt you”.
By the way, the “stages of grief” theory is complete shiite, and it’s about time pop culture and ‘pop’ psychology stop birthing these incestuous ‘theories’. The author herself has said she was basically making it up as she went along. I know I went through about at least a dozen stages of grief including ones not on the ‘official list’: hysterical laughter, intense brooding, jumping rope, eating spicy Cheetos, bingeing on old Craig Ferguson videos. Sometimes all at the same time.
Oh, and if you’re wondering if her name was Donna, it wasn’t. I would never do that to her. She was my all the things. One of the stranger things about this exceedingly strange record was that Donna was actually conceived and named before I had even met my sweet girl. Little did I know what that song, and that name, would come to signify.