"Cannonball" as written by and Kim Deal....
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One two

Spitting in a wishing well
Blown to hell crash
I'm the last splash

I know you little libertine
I know you're a real coocoo

Want you coocoo cannonball
Want you coocoo cannonball
In the shade, in the shade
In the shade, in the shade

I know you little libertine
I know you're a cannonball

I'll be your whatever you want
The bong in this reggae song

In the shade, in the shade
Want you coocoo cannonball
Want you coocoo cannonball

Spitting in a wishing well
Blown to hell
Crash
I'm the last splash

I'll be your whatever you want
The bong in this reggae song

Want you coocoo cannonball
Want you coocoo cannonball
In the shade, in the shade
In the shade, in the shade


Lyrics submitted by Nelly

"Cannonball" as written by Kim Deal

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Cannonball song meanings
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  • +8
    General CommentI believe this song is about Frank Black aka Charles Thompson. This album was written right after the breakup of the Pixies. I never believed the Marquis de Sade explanation. I believe Kim was making an allusion to Marquis de Sade, but was really speaking about Frank Black. The lyrics are actually very clear when you put Frank Black into the picture.

    "Spitting in a wishing well
    Blown to hell crash
    I'm the last splash"

    She's talking about the Pixies here. They were on the brink of becoming very famous (sitting in a wishing well), but then everything imploded (blown to hell crash) within the band. But Kim will not give up her dreams of being a famous musician, so she'll continue on her own with the Breeders (I'm the last splash).

    "I know you little libertine
    I know you're a real coocoo"

    She's talking to Frank Black who probably fancied himself a bohemian, outside of the normal spectrum of morality, hence the "libertine" line. But in reality, he's just wanted total control of the band (this was true in real life). Kim's saying she's seen the real Frank, and the libertine he presented himself as was just a facade. He's really just a crazy control freak.

    "Want you coocoo cannonball
    Want you coocoo cannonball
    In the shade, in the shade
    In the shade, in the shade "

    I'm not entirely sure about the first line of the chorus. It always sounded like Kim was saying "Know you're coocoo, cannonball." I personally never heard the word "Want" in the chorus. Maybe it's just the way she's singing it... But the in the shade line is very telling for me. Kim is singing about herself. She's talking about her time in the Pixies, always being under the shadow of Frank. Never having the spotlight. Don't believe me? check out the next verse:

    "I know you little libertine
    I know you're a cannonball
    I'll be your whatever you want
    The bong in this reggae song"

    Now to talk about the cannonball reference. Kim is basically ridiculing Frank's body and attitude by calling him a cannonball. It's no secret that Frank is fat. Always has been. But the cannonball line is not just to make fun of his body. It's also making fun of his attitude towards the band. He basically ruined his own band. He "wrecked" the ship they were sailing on, and ended their shot at obtaining real recognition and fame.

    Now the second part of the verse is very telling "I'll be your whatever you want." She's basically describing what she went through in the Pixies. She did whatever Frank told her to do. "The bong in this reggae song" is an obvious dig at Frank's style of music. Some of his songs like Mr Grieves and Hey clearly have a reggae/Carribean influence in them, from the style of picking to the singing. Kim is basically saying that she had no say in the Pixies. She was just a tool to him.

    The rest of the song is repeating what's already been said, but overall, my interpretation of this song is that it's about Kim's liberation from the Pixies and Frank. There's a reason why the entire album is called Last Splash. She is basically saying that even after the Pixies are over, she will be the one who will be triumphant and come out on top. She'll have the last word and it's the sweetest revenge she could have after having to endure her volatile relationship with Frank.

    BTW, I am a huge Pixies fan, and I love the Breeders. I'm not trying to spit venom at Frank Black, as I find him to be a very talented singer/songwriter. This is just what I believe the song is really about.
    PorkChopExpresson August 02, 2011   Link
  • +6
    General Commentthis one?

    Kim: I've just never connected music with books. Wait, that's not entirely true. "Cannonball" was inspired by the writings of the Marquis de Sade.

    Q: What? "I'll be the bong in your reggae song" was inspired by de Sade?

    Kim: Well, not that line specifically. But the message of the song as a whole was making fun of de Sade and his libertarian views that if he was better off than someone, then they were just fodder for him. Playthings. It was saying,"Come on, life's not a contest."

    Q: So you're pretty much anti-de Sade.

    Kim: Well, I don't know. Later on I found out he used to suck the snot out of people's noses, and I thought that pretty much ruled.
    kyasarinon June 10, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think that Kim said in an interview that this is about Marquis de Sade. What the bong in the reggae song has to do with de Sade... I haven't got the foggiest idea.
    Stefuon June 06, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSucking the snot out of people's noses does rule...
    Thesmellyoneon June 05, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthedrizzle,
    you...are...an idiot. ok, somebody had to say it.

    Love the breeders, and the whole thing that was happening in the music scene in early nineties. what a great change from the retarded haevy-metal culture! now only if the music industry hadn't turned the quirks and ideas of alternative bands into formulas that were to be blindly followed by an army of soulless bands. like bush, for example.

    one of the most defining aspects of alternative culture is the reaction against the rotten status quo. that aspect was present for a couple of years, and than the music industry had to fight that unpredictability caused by all this friggin bands commin' out of nowhere and messin' up our well paved way of makin money. the industry likes formulas in art because formulas can be worked into the big formula - the money making one. and most of the teenagers actually like to have easily followed formulas, because they're fucking lost to begin with. so, the alternative was tailored to become mainstream. and how was that accomplished? well, just anything that these friggin weird kids can come up with, we'll say 'Hey, okay, groovie, that's also a new fad. Anything goes.' So they made piercing a mainstream. Going to coffee houses they made a mainstream. They made even Punk a mainstream. Skater shoes became a mainstream. Yeah, does anyone realize that 95% of today's sneakers are modeled to look like the then-underground skaters' brands, of which there weren't many - you had Vans and only a couple of others that, of course, couldn't be bought in the stores, but rather had to be ordered through a catalog. So, yeah, the music industry will never be surprised again. They've seen everything. And made a category for everyhting. 'You wanna have a band today? No problem, we gotch ya. Let's see...you belong to category XY3. Aahh, you wanna rock the boat? OK, than you'll be in the category XZ1.'
    i don't think anybody will ever rock any boats. the boat rocking lasted about 5 decades, and it has shown itself as a quite dangerous thing. politically. so, no more of that game, kids. shiiiiyt, i'm really pessimistic tonight.

    The Cannonball video was directed by Kim Gordon.

    Today, is there anyone who makes their own, or their friends' videos on MTV? Yeah, those times are ghandi.

    As for the meaning of the lyrics...ok, inspired by de Sade, but noone could've really guessed. The song was always more about the music. And about the pretty sisters Deal.
    winstonsmithon March 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJudging by first impressions, I think this song is about someone who is in hot water and uses a helpful person to get them out of the water. But when they are finally out of the water, they get rid of this "friend" who helps them get out of trouble.
    lukefunon June 04, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI haven't analyzed the song but if you like this song you should check out a remix by 2 Many DJs that uses this along with eye of the tiger and a skeelo song. Both songs get the Oprooval.
    grandpaon June 28, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSucking snot from people's noses? Very Pattonesque.
    shadowwiththeeyeson October 04, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI heard this song on the radio, and it sounded really familiar.. like I had heard it before on a show or in a movie. does anyone know what shows/movies I might have heard it in?

    thanks for any help. p.s. I know I didn't hear it in Ladder 49, but thats the only soundtrack I can find it on.
    zenzellaon August 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyou've probably heard it in 'sugar and spice', that film about cheerleaders that rob a bank.
    neurotic_chickon December 23, 2005   Link

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