On my favourite album growing up

Based on a prompt from Plinky: What albums did you listen to most when you were growing up?  Do you ever give those a listen anymore.  Why or why not?

When I was 12-13 years old (in late 1993, early 1994), my favourite album was Last Splash by The Breeders.  As a kid, I had mostly listened to pop music (my second favourite album at that time was Salt-n-Pepa’s Very Necessary).  I knew that bands like Nirvana and many others were out there, but having grown up in a household filled 50s and 60s pop music, I wasn’t really ready for music that had a harsher sound.  The surf-inspired pop rock tracks written mostly by Pixies alum Kim Deal (who of course I’d never heard of before) were the perfect compromise for me at that time, and Last Splash served as my introduction to 90s alternative rock music.

I had been on vacation with my parents, an RV trip to somewhere in the western US — we may have been driving down to L.A. or Palm Springs.  Before I started high school, my parents would pull me out of school and we’d spend about a month in January somewhere in southern California.  Because we were gone so long, and were really just there to hang out and enjoy the sunshine, we outfitted the RV with two televisions, so that the three of us wouldn’t have to fight over what to watch.  MTV was incredible to me: Season 2 of The Real World was airing and Alternative Nation played videos I’d never have seen on Much Music.

This was, of course, when MTV actually played music videos.

It was on Alternative Nation that I first saw this video:

I didn’t really like it at first.  I honestly thought it was pretty weird, but after a few views, I was hooked.  “Cannonball” got its hooks in to me and never let me go.  After I started enjoying the song so much, I begged my parents to buy the album for me (on cassette of course) and I played it constantly for the next few months.

And I’m still listening to it, even now.  I bought the 20th anniversary reissue, and songs from that album regularly make my driving or workout playlists.  Though the album is 20 years old, it still feels fresh and current to me, and is far more consistent with what’s going on right now in music than a lot of the other bands associated with the Grunge movement (though I’d argue the Breeders aren’t really a part of that anyway).  Last Splash started me down a path with music that I’m still on now, with some significant twists and turns.  Without it, I think musically, at least, I’d probably be a pretty different person.  I owe the Deal sisters a lot.


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