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Baker's Dozen

A Belly Full: Tanya Donelly's Favourite Albums
Emily Mackay , May 2nd, 2018 08:12

As Belly release their first album in over two decades, Tanya Donelly guides Emily Mackay through 13 favourite albums, from Leonard Cohen to The Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush to Iggy Pop, The Bunnymen, Mary Margaret O'Hara and more


Mary Margaret O'Hara – Miss America
I talk about this album way too much. I feel like she probably has a restraining order out against me, because in terms of inspiration and musical love ... I can't think of one conversation I think I've had since I heard this album that doesn't include it. Miss America was big, not just for myself but for Kristin and Dave and the Muses as well. We were deeply in love with this album, and played in the bus constantly. She came to see us once in London and we could barely get a sentence out. And at the time I was waiting for her next thing, because that's what you do when you love something. And it didn't come and it didn't come, and it became clear that it was not going to come, and then she started to say in interviews, it's not gonna happen, basically. And it's like a band breaking up that you love. It's disappointing. But I'm just so grateful for this collection of songs on this album. That's kind of enough for me. I feel like she made this wonderful thing, and I'm just grateful for it. And in a funny way, when I come back to this album, every song has a larger life because I know this is it. Lyrically, these are relatively direct messages... but the way she talks around a subject, there's just a conversational poetry. That's the way I always think of her songwriting. And I just feel also like there's so much care. This album oozes benevolence and caring and love. In an interesting, nuanced way. Then also just her voice is ridiculously beautiful. The way that she sings around the beat, she sings around the melody, everything is sort of alluded to instead of landed on. I'm very attracted to that. And the musicianship is amazing too. There's something just really thoughtful about the way those musicians play their instruments. They're playing to the song… I have such a strong visual in my head of lacy bridgework. They support her, but in this very fragile way. It's just beautiful.