My Top 1000 Songs #380: Not Too Soon

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

Hot on the heels of the Jam's "Smithers-Jones," here's another example of a band's non-frontman (or, here, frontwoman) stepping to the fore and absolutely crushing it. While Kristin Hersh was generally Throwing Muses' visionary, guitarist Tanya Donelly occasionally took a spot at the mic. And "Not Too Soon," off 1991's The Real Ramona, is a true tour de force. Ramona is arguably the band's most poppy, almost-radio-friendly record, and "Not Too Soon" in particular seems designed for alternative rock dominance. Great crunchy guitar hooks backed by the band's always compelling rhythm section, and an absolutely charming vocal delivery from Donelly; yet the skewed vocal dynamics in the chorus help the song retain the same unpredictable quirks that you'd find in a Hersh track, a power pop rocker that refuses to play by the usual rules.

Hearing the song once is enough to make you want more from Donelly, so it's not a shock this was her last Muses record as she shuffled off to join the Breeders (still playing the back-up role) and, finally, take the lead mantle in Belly.

Live 1991:

Tanya Donelly, live 2011: