The Jakarta Post
Members of the Irish rock band The Cranberries (right to left), singer Dolores O'Riordan, bassist Mike Hogan, drummer Fergal Lawler and guitar player Noel Hogan, pose for a photo on Jan. 18, 2012 in Paris. (Agence France -Presse/Joel Saget)
For a brief period in the mid-1990s, the Irish rock band The Cranberries was one of the biggest bands on the planet, one that could follow in the footsteps of fellow Ireland native U2. And just like U2, The Cranberries never shied away from writing politically and socially conscious lyrics that would end up at the top of the charts. The band’s number-one hit “Zombies” talks about the long-standing conflict between Ireland and the UK, while “So Cold In Ireland” focuses on songwriter Dolores O’Riordan’s love-hate relationship with her homeland.
But O’Riordan, who died on Monday at the age of 46, was at her best when writing love songs. The Cranberries takes some of the most clichéd elements of classic rock — sweeping orchestral strings, chiming guitars and syncopated drums — and turns them into some of pop’s most beautiful compositions. In the second half of the 1990s, these songs were an antidote to grunge’s tiresome white noise. The following are some of The Cranberries' best songs, which will likely gain new meaning now that their creator has passed on.
The Cranberries’ first full-length album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, contains two of the best songs from the 1990s, "Linger" and "Dreams". The former takes the top spot for the sheer beauty that comes from the sublime marriage of the majestic string section, acoustic guitar and impressive snare work from drummer Fergal Lawler. The song’s highlight comes when Noel Hogan’s guitar gently weeps to accentuate O’Rierdan’s longing for an estranged lover.
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Two things stand out in this song: O’Riordan’s yodeling and Lawler’s excessive use of the tom-tom drum, which is used to build tension that is resolved in the song’s finale, when other band members join the lead vocal in a beautiful coda that could give anyone the goosebumps.
This is one of the best rock songs in The Cranberries’ catalogue, which is fitting considering the subject matter of this song is heroin addiction. But even when The Cranberries decide to rock hard, they don’t forget to bring in gorgeous hooks with the help of a horn section.
4. "When You’re Gone"
This is a simple love song that has long been the staple of pop industry. There is, in fact, nothing extraordinary about the song’s composition, which consists mostly of chiming guitars and steady rhythm section. The song’s sublime beauty radiates from the choir-like keyboard parts that evokes the rustic beauty of the band’s hometown of Limerick.
This is yet another rocker from O’Riordan that would not be out of place in the catalogue of any American grunge band. There is much anger and ennui from O’Rierdan in this song, making it one of the heaviest in The Cranberries' collection. (mtr)
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