Countdown to St. Paddy’s Day: The Cranberries 

Pictured is The Cranberries from their album No Need to Argue. Album cover by Andy Earl.

Bryce Russell | Contributing Writer

As we all know, St. Patrick’s Day is the biggest celebration of the year here at UD. We are about one month out from the best day of the year, so I thought it would be fitting to do an article each week leading up to the big day about some of the greatest Irish performers. Kicking it off, we have one of my personal favorites, The Cranberries.

Listen to The Cranberries and you can cry. Listen to The Cranberries and you can hear the soundtrack of happiness. The wild part is, these different emotions can come from the same song. 

The Cranberries was technically formed in Limerick, Ireland in 1989 by Noel Hogan, Mike Hogan, Fergal Lawler, and Niall Quinn with the original name “The Cranberry Saw Us.” However, The Cranberries were really formed in 1990 when the Limerick-born Dolores O’Riordan replaced Niall Quinn as the lead singer. With Dolores at the helm, The Cranberries began their journey to be one of the most popular bands of the nineties and beyond. Dolores O’Riordan’s voice was one of a kind. She could make her voice tremble, yet it remained strong and defiant. Her voice, along with the jangly indie-guitar sounds, launched The Cranberries to stardom.

The band’s first album, “Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?”, was released in 1993, and contained the hit singles “Linger” and “Dreams.” You’ve definitely heard “Dreams” on the soundtrack of almost any rom-com ever. The album introduced The Cranberries with a bang, and contained a unique take on what Indie Rock was at the time. O’Riordan’s soft yet powerful vocals can be found on songs like “Dreams” and “Pretty,” along with her beautifully written lyrics about love and loss on “Linger” and “Sunday.” The album went to number one on the UK and Ireland charts and reached number 18 in America. The album is a brilliant combination of airy vocals and slightly droning, jangly instrumentation that works together beautifully.

They followed their first album with what would go on to be their highest selling album, “No Need to Argue” in 1994. Their sophomore album spawned their biggest hit, the alt-rock classic, “Zombie,” which has 1,105,326,917 streams on Spotify and over a billion and a half on YouTube at the time of writing this. “Zombie” is a politically charged song about the Troubles (a time of conflict from the late 1960’s to 1998 in Northern Ireland), written in response to the civilian casualties (including children) that were happening at the time.

The band continued to release five more albums until 2018 (1996’s “To The Faithfully Departed”, 1999’s “Bury the Hatchet”¸ 2001’s “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee”, 2012’s “Roses”, and 2017’s “Something Else”) until Dolores O’Riordan’s tragic passing on January 15, 2018. At the time of her death, the band had been working on a new album. In 2019 was able to release “In The End” using O’Riordan’s demos that they recorded over, before finally disbanding the Cranberries’ name.

Dolores O’Riordan and the Cranberries left us some of the most beautiful Indie Rock music of all time, and I highly recommend giving them a listen. Here are a few of my favorites to get you started if you’ve never listened to them much: 

  • “I Can’t Be With You”
  • “Linger”
  • “Sunday” 
  • “Dreams”
  • “Zombie”
  • “Pretty”
  • “Ode To My Family”
  • “Animal Instinct”
  • “I Will Always”

Come back next week to read about a newer band from Dundalk, Ireland: The Mary Wallopers!

For more coverage of music and pop culture, check out our Arts and Entertainment page here!

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