I was saddened tonight to hear of the sudden death of Dolores O’Riordan. I used to like The Cranberries back in the 90’s, and the fact that she was the same age as I really hit home.
From Limerick, I loved that Irish accent of hers, haunting and evocative among the rolling guitar and drums.
Their music has been likened to singers such as Sinéad O’Connor and Siouxsie and the Banshees. O’Riordan stated her singing style incorporating yodeling was inspired by her father who used to sing “The Lonesome Cattle Call”: “I just kept with my father all the time, just copying him and eventually I learned how to do it. Then over the years there were artists like Sinéad O’Connor and Siouxsie from Siouxsie and the Banshees and even Peter Harvey was doing it. It was something that you could work into The Cranberries’ format because a lot of that was used in religious Irish music.”
The first song that brought them to my attention was the gorgeous ballad Linger with its dreamy vocal and strings, written about the singer’s first serious kiss. Almost twenty five years on this is still a favourite of mine.
The video to accompany Linger was shot in grayscale and is a tribute to Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 noir film Alphaville.
Another favourite Cranberries track is the protest song Zombie, written in the wake of the Warrington bombing that claimed the lives of two children. O’Riordan is strikingly painted gold in the video, standing at the foot of a cross. Patrolling soldiers and children playing in Northern Ireland also feature.
Another head hangs lowly
Child is slowly taken
And the violence caused such silence
Who are we mistaken
the first time I encountered it I heard the ‘1916’ reference and thought it was about a traumatised ex-soldier, but I guess that works too, for victims of warfare and violence belong to a timeline that knows no end. As Dolores sings:
It’s the same old theme/Since nineteen-sixteen
I can recall many nights in my local pub in the nineties when this heavier Cranberries song was coming out from the jukebox. Some of them at the cost of my loose change.
R.I.P Dolores. Thanks for the music. Hope you’ve found peace.
As my train approached Manchester station, seeing Angel Square lit up against the night sky emphasised how far we had come, seasonally. This occasional commute of mine has mostly been made in daylight, but now night had descended as another train hurtled past in the opposite direction.
Attracted by the flashing streaks of this brief neighbour, (and maybe me capturing it on my phone), a man peered out of the window. He continued to look out long after the train had vanished.
“I’ve slept under those arches,” he said.
Resisting the most obvious question, which was none of my business, I instead asked “What was it like?”
“Bloody cold,” he replied. “But at least it was dry.”
That’s what it was like this night: cold and dry. I wondered if anybody was under those arches now, settling down for the night.
Angel Square, that beautiful glass modern building, is built on the site of Angel Meadow, that 19th Century slum that Friedrich Engels called “Hell upon Earth.”
Despite appearances to the contrary, maybe nothing changes. For some people anyway. Two hundred years on there are those who lie cold on the city’s underbelly, no matter how we dress it up.