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Sweet Ride - Best of Belly

Belly

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Album Review

Belly arrived at a strange time for alternative rock. Prior to the early 1993 release of their debut, Star, they had released a series of critically acclaimed U.K. EPs that balanced the shimmering, otherworldly quality of Throwing Muses with an increased sense of songcraft from ex-Muse/Breeder Tanya Donelly — dream pop that really emphasized the pop, while adding emotional undercurrents that could shift from sweetness to haunting within one song. Star, like the EPs, captured this well, and since it arrived when all things alt-rock had a shot at the charts, they actually had a gold album and a Billboard hit with "Feed the Tree." This led to semistardom — not nearly as big as Kurt-n-Courtney or Eddie, nor as gossip-worthy as Evan-n-Juliana, but to a lot of appearances at festivals and even the cover of Rolling Stone, which meant that they wanted to broaden their audience and sound with their second album, the Glyn Johns-produced King. Though the selected songs were good, the big, glossy production didn't quite fit, but it came to define Belly — deliberately, too, since they began to remix their British hits for MTV and modern rock radio. Rhino's 2002 collection Sweet Ride: The Best of Belly collects all of the singles, but not necessarily in their original form. Included are "Gepetto" in the remix version (which was, admittedly, U.S. single version); the live version of "Dusted"; a U.S.-radio mix of "Feed the Tree." There are a couple of key album tracks, and a whole lotta B-sides: a wonderful, slyly sexy version of "Trust in Me" from Disney's The Jungle Book, a cover of "Hot Burrito #1," and, of course, the tremendous title track. There's also some collector-bait ephemera here, okay King B-sides, a French version of a song from King, and a cover of "Are You Experienced?"

Biography

Formed: 1991 in Boston, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

Following several years in Throwing Muses, as well as a brief detour in the Breeders in 1990, Tanya Donelly formed her own band, Belly, in 1992. With Belly, Donelly expanded her dreamy pop hooks into more concise, catchy songs, as well as harder-edged rock. The band's 1993 debut, Star, became one of the first beneficiaries of the commercialization of alternative rock; it rode to gold status within its first year of release, as "Feed the Tree" made headway on mainstream...
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