Following the happened on strategy, next up on the Song Of The Day “one song leads to another” is “Feed The Tree”, from Belly’s 1993 album, Star.
Recently, my older daughter and I were talking about “no skip” albums, a trend that is going around Tik Tok as of late (or at least “as of late” when we were talking about it – trends move fast there). A “no skip” is an album that you don’t want to skip any songs on, that you love from start-to-finish, in that perfect for me album kind of way.
We came up with a lot. Some similar, some not.
Belly’s Star was definitely on my no-skip list.
The album came out the year that my then boyfriend, myself, and our daughter lived in an upstairs apartment that was walking distance from The Winged Heart Cafe our favorite place to drink coffee, listen to (and talk about) music, hangout with friends, and just be. This album – Star – always reminds me of that time, and of The Winged Heart. I remember the baristas used to play it a lot, after close. I’d hangout with them (boyfriend was a barista there for a spell), baby daughter (same daughter who was making the “no skip” lists with me) asleep in her stroller, lullabied by Tanya Donelly’s voice.
“Take your hat off boy,
when you’re talking to me,
nd be there when I feed the tree.”
When I first heard this song I didn’t know what the saying “feed the tree” meant. It was during one of those after hours Winged Heart conversations, while the album played, that someone explained it to me.
The tree, that was often planted on large farms, would hopefully grow big enough to offer safety and shade for the family to sit under – and later be buried under – their bodies literally “feeding the tree”.
I remember remarking that it was pretty dark, but then the more I talked about it, the more I understood the meaning behind it. To be there, with another person, until they “feed the tree”. The kind of “till death do us part” kind of commitment.
I wondered to myself if the boy I was with, who I’d had a baby with, was the kind I’d be with until one of us fed the tree. No, I thought to myself silently. He’s not, I thought, still silently, though for a short time I think I believed he would be.
I wasn’t wrong. Not long after the night we split up. After a few years, he dropped out completely, from my life, from my daughter’s life. No trees with him in our future, that’s for sure.
Now that did get a little dark, didn’t it? It wasn’t my intention. Not really. I mean, even though I remember thinking that, deciding that, silently to myself, I wasn’t giving up hope of finding that tree-person someday. I’ve always been a hopeless (hopeful) romantic.
“Feed The Tree” was the first single released from Star, the band’s debut album. It ended up being their biggest hit, reaching #1 on the U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, and #32 on the UK Singles chart. (source: Wikipedia)
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I would go from loving the “no skip” Belly album, Star, to obsessing over their second album, King. I’d been a big fan of Tanya Donelly since I first discovered the band Throwing Muses, that Tanya was in with her half-sister, Kristin Hersch.
I’d go to see Throwing Muses, with the non-tree boyfriend, when they played at The Troubadour, in 1994, Kristin very pregnant at the time.
I’ve followed Tanya’s (and Kristin’s) career ever since the Muses, and Belly. Some of my favorites are Tanya’s first solo album, Lovesongs For Underdogs (another “no skip” album on my list).
Belly reunited back in 2018. You can click here and read the 10 Questions interview feature I did with Tom Gorman, of Belly.
I hope they continue to make music together, and that I’ll get to see them play live in the (hopefully) not too far away future.