Saturday, June 9, 2012

Song #216 of 9999 - Cannonball by The Breeders

Song #216 of 9999 

Title: Cannonball

Artist: The Breeders
Year: 1993
Album: Last Splash

Nineteen ninety-three was a good year for women in pop apparently. I've already featured Björk and Mazzy Star, and there's also good stuff from Belly, PJ Harvey and Liz Phair I will probably not get to. But the biggest hit (and perhaps the catchiest record of the bunch) comes from Kim Deal, formerly of The Pixies, and twin sister Kelley, who make up one-half of The Breeders. "Cannonball" became an indie smash, catapulting their debut album to platinum status.
"Cannonball" is one of those songs that seemingly has nothing special about it. Essentially two chords throughout (okay, the chorus adds a third), the song is driven by a prominent syncopated bass line and a cool electric guitar lick that makes clever use of a whammy bar. The lyrics are unintelligible and there is virtually no melody. But it works, I think, because of the arrangement which is filled with well-placed breaks and machine-gun fire in the snare drum and electric guitar during a chorus that begs you to get on your feet and....I don't know, bop up and down? Kim Deal's cool approach to the lead vocal during the verse and the distortion on her voice in the chorus add to the overall effect.
I don't have a great sense of the sound of the 1990s, but, perhaps second only to Nirvana, I'd say "Cannonball" is the defining song of the decade.

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