I like this song, but it's a a little vague. I think that the "Bella Donna" represents fame, its addictive nature, its ability to numb and kill. After all, belladonna is a poison, but in small doses, it's used to help people who are hurting by acting as a painkiller. Fame can work in the same way. It helps you, it can get rid of pain, but if overdone it's destructive.
She begins the song talking about the phoniness of her lifestyle, and how she might be able to fool everybody else but she knows the truth about herself. Still, she keeps pursuing that fame...she still "fight[s] for the northern star." Her life as a celebrity keeps her in "the fast lane," and it takes a toll... even though she "never thought it could." She wants to "come in out of the darkness" and become stronger through it all, not allow her lifestyle to overtake her - because when "the woman gets so tired [...] the woman disappears." That loss of oneself is the ultimate price of fame. She has to prevent that - she doesn't want to "change." It ends on a positive note, however. She's "ready to sail" and escape the "darkness" - she's not going to crumble under the weight of her celebrity.
I think this song is, in my perception anyway, about her and an man (Maybe Don Henley). Who, if you know him, you would agree and say he does tend to scare a lotta people. But he'll never scare his Stevie, who loves him- but knows he's gettin' itchy feet. Hence, the Fast Lane reference. Stevie is Belladonna, and she is having a conversation with herself - a pep talk. But she is tired and don't know if she can deal with Don's crap anymore. She's feelin' it's about over. So she's making peace with the fact she's gonna let this one sail.
I love this song so much. I think that this song is referring to the beautiful part inside of stevie. She has just left Lindsey when she did her work on the album and I think that she is appealing to this part of herself to give her strength to continue without him. But it is also more than that, I think she is asking for the strength to continue what she does because it is getting more difficult to do on her own than in Fleetwood Mac.
I like the fact that she addresses this division in herself because I think that is what makes the song so universal. We all have the parts of us that want to give in and do what is easy, but there is always that part of us that is our strength and when Stevie says, "we fight for the northern star" she is showing that these two parts are fighting to control the direction of her life.
And when she says "You are in love with and I am ready to sail" she shows that division when it comes to lindsey. Half of her is ready to love him and stay around, but the Bella Donna wants to move on and continue her life. And by saying, "don't change baby please don't change" it is obvious that she never wants the Bella Donna to compromise her strength and give in to all the pressures in her life.
I really, really love this song. It is beauty in its purest form. But I believe this song is about Lindsey Buckingham. "You can ride high atop your pony. I know you won't fall, cause the whole thing's phony. You can fly, swingin' from your trapeze; scaring all the people, but you'll never scare me." I think that this part strongly states that Stevie knows Lindsey, and that no matter how he treats her now that they are over, she will not be frightened of him. She knows that his career with Fleetwood Mac will be a good one while it lasts, even though the persona he puts on during stage, and on camera as being the sweet victim of love, she knows the truth. He's being phony to make her look bad. When she says "No speed limit...this is the fast lane. It's just the way that it is here. And you say...you never thought it could." I think this refers to how she and Lindsey thought they'd be together forever. They never thought they could break up, but fame knows no boundaries.
When she says "come in out of the darkness," I think she is referring to herself. Lindsey once stated that Stevie was never a very happy person, and I think it shows a lot of time, even thought she's great! When she says "You are in love with...and I'm ready to sail." I think she is saying that Lindsey's not ready to let go, but she has to. He's in love with her, and she loves him, but she has to leave. And my favorite part of the song "And the woman may be so awestruck, and the woman may truly care. But the woman is so tired...oh, and so the woman disappears." I think this is saying that Stevie's so taken in by everything, and that she's awestruck. She's also saying that she does truly care about Lindsey, but she is SO tired and so sad, she just can't take it anymore, so she leaves for the both of them. She's also saying "It's just a feeling," meaning that she will get over him eventually.
I think this songs starts out with her trying to talk about on of her famous lovers like Don Henly or maybe even Lindsey with the whole "you can ride high atop your pony, i know you want fall 'cause the whole things phony. you can fly swinging from your trapeze, scaring all the people... but you'll never scare me" but she also talking about herself. 'Cause the whole attitude of being this mystical person is what she's famous for but most of it is an act. "Bella Donna" is that part of her. It can mean 'Beautiful Lady', the star, but it also makes you numb and if you take to much it could kill you. The "Northern star" that she's fighting for is the guiding light. She's fighting to hold onto her sense of guidance and her sense of self. By "no speed limit, this is the fast lane" I think she's talking about both the pace of the lifestyle, and the drugs she needs to keep up with it. Like there's no limit on the amount she has to take. When I was little my mom played this song a lot, and I always thought that the line "That's just the way that it is here" was 'it's just the pain of it is easier' which supports the drug idea more, but that was the way it was in the whole rock star lifestyle.
"I never thought it could," probably refers to the fact that she never really thought she could make it in the whole world of the rich and famous. Or that she never thought she would be unhappy there, "And the lady's feeling just like the moon that she loves, don't you know that the stars are a part of us," is when she's feeling like she's not a part of the world, sort of floating in space watching everyone and wishing they could see the real her. She's very lonely but still a star, just a little bit of cold glittering light amoung millions, and she wonders if anyone will miss her of she's gone or if some other woman will take her place. "come in out of the darkness" well if you look at the cover of the lp where that line is written, it looks like it first said 'come in out of the dark' and she added the 'ness' for the whole rhythm to work. So I'm guessing that she wants someone to say that to her, to offer her comfort and let her come down out of the night sky and be something more real than a star. (also see "Come down here for a minute" from Sweet Girl)
"You are in love with... and I'm ready to sail... It's just a feeling" I'm saying that she was going to put a name in after "you are in love with" but she realized that she was "Ready to sail" and leave the relationship and that after all it wasn't really love, "just a feeling". But the feeling "sort of captures your soul" and it's hard not to be blindly in love with whoever it was, to just forget the real world and be Bella Donna, the beautiful, poisonous lady who has no real soul. And she's not really Bella Donna, not off stage. When she gets home and takes off her beautiful costumes and realizes she's alone, she's just a woman.
"And the woman may be so awestruck, and the woman may truely care, but the woman is so tired, so the woman disapears" it's like she wants to be this deadly beautiful lady but at the same time she's the woman who is awestruck at the whole lifestyle she's living in, and awestruck at the beauty all around her that not everybody can see, and she can't be Bella Donna all the time because she does care about the people she loves and the fans and her music an the world, but she's so worn down and she's losing her sense of herself and her natural beauty in this fog of exaustion that the part of her that's the woman, that's the person she will alway be even without the fame and money and pretty men disapears. So Bella Donna becomes her soul in a way, "Bella donna... my soul..." but in a way she feels like she's losing that soul, and she doesn't want to and she knows that if something doesn't change she will lose it, but only if the Bella Donna part changes, cuz if the stevie part changes she thinks it will be lost forever. so she tells herself "Don't change... baby please don't change." and she starts to say something else, but doesn't get to finish. Because the weight of it all is so heavy, and then her Face, the mask that she wears to hide a little bit of herself behind becomes thin in a way she never thought it could so people can almost see through it. Yet Bella Donna still thinks she's in love even though Stevie's ready to sail away into the sunset alone and peaceful, so she has to admit to herself that it's just a feeling. That everything she's been feeling through the whole song is just a feeling and she can't be sure if she's that bad off or if she just needs to rest a little before she's ready to wear the mask of Bella Donna again.