The Breeders – “Cannonball” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

The Breeders’ “Cannonball” is a track that captures the rebellious, carefree spirit of the ’90s alternative rock scene. It’s a song about independence, self-expression, and breaking free from societal norms. The lyrics hint at a wild, unstoppable force, much like a cannonball, representing the drive to be unapologetically oneself. While not pinpointing a specific individual, it feels like a collective call to those who’ve felt out of place or stifled. The songwriter embraces and celebrates eccentricity, prompting listeners to find strength in their quirks and differences.

Hungry for more insights on this alternative rock gem? The lyrics harbor more layers than you might think. Let’s break them down together!

“Cannonball” Lyrics Meaning

“Spitting in a wishing well” sets the song’s tone, evoking a sense of defiance and an urge to disrupt the norm. It’s a direct challenge to conventional ways, suggesting a break from traditional beliefs.

“Blown to hell, crash, I’m the last splash” is a celebration of an impactful presence, with “last splash” symbolizing a lasting mark on the world. The repeated phrase “I know you, little libertine” emphasizes recognizing and connecting with fellow free spirits, individuals who reject societal norms.

The recurring “Want you cuckoo cannonball” paints a picture of someone who’s unpredictable yet powerful. Here, “cuckoo” can be interpreted as someone who’s different or unconventional, and “cannonball” signifies their impact, bursting into scenes and leaving a mark.

“In the shade” can symbolize the margins or outskirts of mainstream society, suggesting comfort in being on the fringe or in the shadows, away from the spotlight.

“I’ll be your whatever you want, The bong in this reggae song” implies adaptability, fitting into different roles, and possibly highlighting the laid-back, relaxed vibe of the song.

The Story Behind “Cannonball”

Penned during the ’90s grunge era, “Cannonball” is a testament to The Breeders’ unique sound and the era’s overarching themes of rebellion, individuality, and self-expression. The band, fronted by Kim Deal, former bassist of the Pixies, was known for its eccentricity, and this song perfectly encapsulates their ethos.

The title itself, “Cannonball,” suggests a powerful, uncontrolled force, much like the band’s rise to fame in a music industry dominated by male voices. Kim and her twin sister, Kelley Deal, carved out a space for themselves with their unconventional sound and lyrics.

The song reflects Kim Deal’s state of mind at the time – breaking away from the Pixies and the challenges that came with forging her path. It’s a celebratory anthem for outsiders, urging them to embrace their quirks and make their mark on the world, much like a cannonball would. The track also nods to the band’s struggles with addiction and their journey towards sobriety, with “In the shade” possibly hinting at a darker past they’re emerging from.

In essence, “Cannonball” serves as a reflection of The Breeders’ journey – filled with challenges, but ultimately triumphant in its raw authenticity.