100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #63 The Breeders – Cannonball

Released : 1993

There was not a more 90’s job dismissal than receiving your notice by fax; email wasn’t for everyone by that point baby and phones still came mostly attached to the wall. It’s alleged that Kim Deal found out about the end of The Pixies via a shiny piece of paper sent from band leader Black Francis in 1993, although Deal says the story is just that. Either way, it was time for the side project she’d originally begun with Tanya Donelly to become a full time gig.

The Breeders had already released their debut album, the Steve Albini helmed Pod, three years before. But this time the quartet – Deal, her sister Kelley, Josephine Wiggs and Jim McPherson – were catapulted into a full time rock star world, opening for Nirvana and part of a scene which had exploded from the underground and was transforming what rock music was.

Pressure was something very few of the movement’s unwilling stars welcomed, but Deal had an ace up her sleeve, a goofy, loose limbed song with a off kilter bassline, distortion-heavy vocals and a scissoring guitar riff. Cannonball was the sound of nerds turning everything up to 11, a pop Trojan Horse which employed the quiet/loud modus operandi but in which each was balanced and to be savoured equally. A massive hit in the straight charts, it was the kind of lighting bolt that a few years before had seemed like a fantasy amongst the drop outs and thrift store customers suddenly draped in platinum discs. Rumour had it Deal’s new employer was very pleased.

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