Chart-a-thon 2023Releases

Chart-a-Thon 2023, Day 9, Slot 2: Tanya Donelly’s Love Songs for Underdogs Full Album

What in the world am I doing charting an album from a singer/songwriter no one has probably even heard of? If you’ve been following my charts closely, you’ll have noticed that I have released quite a few Belly songs here and there. And one of them even became an official release in RB4 long after I had charted it. The lead singer of Belly, embarked on her own, soon after Belly broke up, and this was her debut album. I loved every single song on this album and it quickly became a staple in my rotation. I was a HUGE fan of her poetry in music, and this was her own effort with no influence from anyone else but her.

After having co-founded two bands (Throwing Muses and The Breeders), starting another (Belly), Tanya Donelly was no stranger to making great music throughout the 90s. She would later go on to release three more solo albums outside of this one, but none captured the essence of who she was quite like Lovesongs for Underdogs. And with that motivation, I am now proud to have charted my first entire album, dedicated to the woman herself, Tanya.

This album is a solid one for Rock Band, with most the instruments represented in game (only one song has a long violin part). I have separated the tracks, so that this album could embody the true Rock Band experience. You miss some notes, that track ain’t gonna play for you no more. There is minimal amount of bleed in the tracks, so it really does make for an authentic experience.

The album starts with solid rock singles, with upbeat tempos, then gradually descends into melodic numbers, that are more deep in lyrical content than instrumentation. And the album is truly made up of Lovesongs, as the content in each track is around how complicated and intricate love can be and what the result of those feelings have on a person.

Here’s a breakdown of each track:

Pretty Deep – The kickoff track to set the stage for the entire album, this song starts with a smash twice on the drums to call you to attention, and then it keeps you on the ride the rest of the way through. This song is a gem for rock band on any instrument, especially setting the tone for drummers. Pretty Deep embodies the spirit of falling for a person too much, when your feelings don’t quite match theirs, yet you let yourself fall anyway.

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The Bright Light – “I’m in for a love so tough i could break my teeth if i bit down hard upon it” tells the tale of how you know what love is going to be like ’cause you’ve been there before, and it’s going to be hell, but you get “sucked into it again” anyway.

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Landspeed Song – This is the opposite of Pretty Deep in which she knows she needs work, but if the other person put in the time, the result would be phenomenal.

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Mysteries of the Unexplained – This one is a bit of a jab at pop culture and it’s negative influences. In the latter part of the song she alludes to action movies of the 90s and how lots of people would die at the hands of the protagonist, and the audience would think nothing of it and would cheer even. This is her, letting us know, our “love” of that sort of thing is a mystery. The tragedy in this song is she is waiting for the next meteor to hit and cause our extinction (which can tell she is just pretty tired of humanities ways and focus on pop culture).

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Lantern – This is a pretty straightforward “yearn for” song. She wants to keep company with someone who is a little less mature, but just wants their attention. When she’s down, they can light her up.

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Acrobat – This one is only guitar and vocals (drummers and bass players, take a break) to ensure we are concentrating on the content. The lyrics are few but they are powerful and suggest that there are those that exist beyond us and that we cannot fathom their logic or how they connect with us. It’s a little tragic and feels a bit lonely for both people if they ever wanted to find a connection with one another.

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Breathe Around You – This is a matter of complete and utter opposites being fiercely in love but really not working right. Other than a passion and drive that happens when they can exist only momentarily with each other. This one is a banger on this album, from instruments to lyrics. A true highlight.

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Bum – Love the opening line of some lucky bum took away my right to some. They have now fallen for someone that might not be the right person for them, but now they are their only thoughts and they must pursue. And they want them also to but are a little afraid they might not.

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Clipped – This is the song where we start our descent and becomes mid tempo. This song is a bit melancholy about just getting too high and losing track of where you are only to discover you are way too far up and now you spin on the say down.

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Goat Girl – This is a fun and easy track that can be quickly mistaken for nonsense. However, the animal references throughout this song help to describe the people in it. She sings, “I wanted a lion but I ended up with a man, who wanted a gazelle.” She never really says what she was at first, but since she’s clearly not a gazelle, she laments that she’s a goat girl doing her “brutish best” signifying, she will be aggressive towards him since she can’t be what he wants.

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Manna – Really falling into the mellow, Manna definitely keeps us on our approach to the album’s landing. This is a sweet song about commitment and what the benefit of that can be, even when the other might now know exactly the reasoning.

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Swoon – This song finishes off the album in perfect form. Drawn out lyrics, smooth sounds and easy accompaniment, with lyrical content that sorta fools you into thinking she has found the man that desires her most, only to let him know it’s her freedom that is her true love.

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I hope those who know Tanya find some love in these songs. I know I put the love I had into creating them here in a way that let’s me interact with them and gives me such happiness now that I can play them in full. And now knowing the songs on drums that I can translate to real life has been an even bigger feeling of satisfaction.

I truly hope you enjoy this album.


If you’ve liked the songs so far, consider donating to the National Down Syndrome Society if you can! 

This release is part of the Album Series. Previous entries include:

1. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
2. Silver Jews – Tanglewood Numbers
3. Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
4. Summer Salt – Happy Camper
5. My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade
6. Beach Bunny – Honeymoon & Blame Game
7. Jimi Hendrix – Band Of Gypsys
8. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Unlimited Love
9. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
10. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Infest the Rats’ Nest
11. The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs
12. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
13. George Harrison – All Things Must Pass
14. Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – Barafundle
15. Suede – Autofiction
16. Silver Jews – American Water
17. Blur – Modern Life is Rubbish
18. R.E.M. – Murmur
19. Coldplay – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
20. Cream – Disraeli Gears

The album series is an ongoing collaborative project. If you would like to get involved be sure to reach out to me (Yaniv297) for more information on how to participate.

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  1. Late to comment on this as I had not heard the album before. I’ve since listened to it several times and really enjoy it, will be adding a lot of these to my Rock Band for future playing. Thank you for introducing me!

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