April 28, 2017 by Gregory Josephs
Something Else. . . Returning to The Cranberries
The Cranberries released their new retrospective acoustic album Something Else this morning. It’s the 90’s band’s first release since 2012, so to celebrate, I’m featuring a track and taking a little walk down Memory Lane for this week’s Things I Love.
Alien Sound in an Alien Landscape
I remember pretty clearly when I first became aware of the Cranberries as a band. It was December of 1996, and I was sitting in the back seat of my parents’ car cruising down I-25 somewhere in New Mexico. We were en route to spend Christmas with my grandmother in Tucson, and had reached that point in the long, fourteen hour drive when there wasn’t anything left to talk about.
Whoever was in the passenger seat slipped a disc into the dash, and a few moments later a twangy arpeggio preceded a driving metal guitar. A few bars later Dolores O’Riordan began her distinctive “Ay-ee” over and over again, voice cracking deliciously as she modulated her voice upward on the ees.
Though I’d certainly heard Dreams and Linger on the radio before, I don’t know if I’d ever paid close attention. With nothing to do but stare out the window at the alien landscape of New Mexico, I settled in to listen as Dolores started into the first verse of Hollywood; the album was To the Faithful Departed, and it left a lasting impression.
At this point in my twelve years on earth, when it was up to me, all I listened to was Country. Luckily for me, my parents were into alternative, and I attribute much of my adult taste in music to this fortunate fact. So coming off of Brooks and Dunn and LeAnn Rimes, you can imagine The Cranberries sounding pretty exotic. Suffice it to say I was intrigued, and though I didn’t come to them on my own for some years still, I remembered.
And Hollywood still makes me think of New Mexico, which, if you know the song, is probably an association uniquely my own.
By 2003 I was in the early years of my adulthood; 19 years old, living with roommates, and trying to expand my musical palate. I had grand visions of being a songwriter and was devouring as much music as I could. I picked up The Cranberries’ greatest hits album Stars, and this is probably when I really fell in love with their sound.
Unfortunately for me I was late to the party. Though the band never really broke up, they did a slow fade into inactivity and obscurity.
So, whatever happened to those guys?
It’s hard to tell, though a quick google search will reveal a lot more than I care to recap here. There was some infighting. There were law suits. There were kids. Regardless, by 2006 Dolores O’Riordan was starting a solo career, and I couldn’t have been happier. She put out two albums which I might actually like better than The Cranberries, but that’s a story for another post.
In 2009 Dolores had just started a tour when something odd happened. Perhaps the band experienced a little FOMO (fear of missing out), or maybe Dolores was feeling nostalgic. Just a few shows in, Dolores announced the band was joining her, and just like that her solo career was over. Kind of bittersweet if you ask me. She was doing really well on her own!
This happy tour led to 2012’s Roses, which was actually a pretty good album. I had to give it a little time because I was still annoyed about the abrupt end to Dolores’ solo venture. Still, I came around in the end, even picking up tickets to their show in Boston that year. If you ever have the chance to see these guys live, do it! Dolores was full of energy, spinning on the stage and sweeping a white leather jacket back and forth across her ass like a towel. . . hilarious! All the while her vocals were spot on, and it was a really great show.
This was followed by another period of obscurity. The good times quickly came to an end when there were more lawsuits (still not sure what about). Dolores joined the panel of The Voice Ireland, and had some legal problems when she had a little incident on a plane.
Then last year, out of the blue, I found out she was singing in a new band with Andy Rourke called D.A.R.K. Again, a topic for another post, but it was a good album! Who knows if Something Else was already in the works, or if it was another case of FOMO, but D.A.R.K. barely got their album out before this retrospective was announced.
If I sound bitter, I’m not. Whatever the case, I’m excited they’re together and putting out new music! More of The Cranberries is always a good thing!
It’s early in the day, so I’ve only had the chance to listen through Something Else twice, but I can already tell this album is a keeper. In addition to the creative orchestral reimagining of ten classic hits, The Cranberries offer up three new tracks; The Glory, Rupture, and Why. The first is my early favorite, though I’ll reserve final judgement.
In any case, here is the new version of Linger:
What do you think? Do you like the Cranberries? Did you follow Dolores’ solo career? Are you planning to pick up Something Else? Tell me in the comments below!
Thanks as always for reading!