“Red” is the 3rd track off of Belly’s 2nd album, King, which was released in 1995. Though I “came of age”, so to speak, in the ’80s, it’s the ’90s that feel more like my coming of age soundtrack. Maybe that’s because I was in my 20’s in the ’90s, and that was the decade of the biggest changes in my life. I changed a lot. I grew a lot. I fell a lot. I got back up a lot. And, I loved the music – a lot.
“Red” by Belly
from the album, King (1995)
Song of the Day
“Red, you look tired,
you look older than your mother.
Where should I not touch?
What should I not kiss?
Where does it hurt?”
It was the decade of women in music for me. I was a Lilith Girl, a riot grrrl, a goth girl, and a huge fangirl of the plethora of fantastic females in music at the time. I’d discovered Tanya Donelly during her stint in Throwing Muses, but it was Belly that really got me getting her. It was Belly that made me a lifelong Tanya-fan.
I’ve written quite a bit about Belly’s first album, Star. I wrote a feature on the album even. I’ve written about many songs from that album, too. This morning I was realizing that I’d not delved into King much at Lyriquediscore, despite the fact that the album, and the tracks within, were a big part of my life in 1995, and beyond.
One of the first songs I heard today was “Red”, today’s Song of the Day, which got me thinking about the album King, the band Belly, and who I was in those mid-90’s days.
I was 26. I had a 3-year-old daughter and a failed marriage. I was working at a record store and failing at relationships. My heart was flung across the states to an almost island town, but the rest of me was still in a small Orange County suburb trying hard to grow up and get my shit together.
My childhood scars had a life of their own. I hadn’t done much healing. I felt so much older than my young years. All my worst habits were baring their teeth at the world, and I was hurting so much more than I ever let on. But, I was also writing. I was listening to so much music. And, I was surviving. Even at the worst of it, I was still surviving.
I spent a lot of time by the ocean. I spent a lot of time at record stores. I spent a lot of time not sleeping and smoking Marlboro Lights. I spent a lot of time watching movies and writing in lined-composition books. I spent most days in baby doll dresses, crushed velvet, and granny-boots.
I may have sucked at love, but I had great friends. We went to shows together. We went to movies. We took day trips with my daughter in the backseat. We obsessed over TV shows like “My So-Called Life:” and “Twin Peaks”. We climbed up in lifeguard towers at night to confide in each other. We fell in love with bands and record albums, with drinking too much and not eating enough, and sometimes with each other.
I listen to “Red” and the thing that hits me the most is mood swings in the song. They remind me of myself, in 1995. My moods ever-changing, fueled by chemicals and an eating disorder, by so much music, and not enough sleep. I was dramatic. I was emotional. I was a whirling dervish of movement. I was wired and tired and lit on fire most days. I was a beautiful wreck of a girl-trying-to-be-a-woman. I felt a lot like this song sounds.