Trans-Neptunian Object #1

Album: Cherry Marmalade (2002)
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  • After Letters To Cleo singer Kay Hanley gave birth to her daughter in 1999, she headed into the studio to record her first solo album, Cherry Marmalade. Around this time, Pluto's status as the ninth planet from the sun was being called into question, and it was eventually reclassified as a trans-Neptunian object. The album's closing track connects Pluto's plight with Hanley's otherworldly devotion to her baby. The singer told Songfacts in 2022:

    "I was obsessed at the time with the idea that Pluto had been downgraded from a planet to a trans-Neptunian object. I was really upset about that. I don't know why I decided to make the connection between that and this beautiful creature that I got to hang out with and wipe her butt every day and clean spit up off my shoulders. I was always covered in her activities... it was just the sort of wondering... who are you? And making promises to her that I'd take care of her always."
  • Songwriting was always a collaborative process in Letters To Cleo, so it was a different experience for Hanley to write by herself (or with her then-husband, Cleo guitarist Michael Eisenstein) on Cherry Marmalade. Writing solo also yielded quite different results.

    "Every song I write, I know exactly what was going on in that moment when I wrote it and why I wrote it," she told Songfacts. "Even though, especially in Cleo, most of my songs were not very literal. The songs on Cherry Marmalade were. That's one of the things that was unusual, was writing such linear stories. I had never really done that before.


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