Saturday, January 25, 2014


Full on 1993.
One of my favorite albums in the 1990s was Belly's Star.  Belly was  group formed by former Throwing Muses and Breeders member Tanya Donnelly. From what I've read, many of the songs were originally supposed to be on the Breeders follow-up to their amazing 1990 album Pod, but then Kim Deal got busy touring with the Pixies so Donnelly decided to form a new band. Many of the songs on Star have the same warped perspective as the early Breeders, so it isn't hard to imagine songs like "Every Word" being Breeders' songs. Belly is best known for "Feed the Tree," their biggest hit.

That song is a bit more pop than the rest of the album, but it does capture Belly's combination of sunny hooks and dark lyrics. Much like the contrast between Donnelly's own cute, elfin looks and her actual personality. Being a human being, she was/is much more complicated than the image of her that the media picked up on. As someone who has dated many a cute, short woman (and is married to one), I can tell you that they often resent being stereotyped as cute. That label doesn't do justice to the fact that their is much more to them than the fact that they are little and pretty. Of course, Belly might not have gotten as much traction had Donnelly not been a looker whose winsome appearance and pretty voice contrasted so well with her lyrics.

There was a dreamy, romantic quality to Belly's music that made them perfect for listening to late at night. I was a freshman in college when I got into them, and I remember how the music seemed to open up a new world to me, both sonically and literally. It was "girlier" than most of the music I listened to, and yet maintained an edge. I listened to it obsessively for much of 93-94. Their follow up, King, went in a more rock direction and as such was a disappointment both commercially and critically. Belly broke up soon after. Tanya Donnelly had a brief solo career before delving into motherhood, but she has continued to release music in the 2000s. 

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