Beautiful tribute to a band gone too soon
When one thinks of The Cranberries, several important things immediately come to mind. The Irish quartet first burst onto the scene in the early 1990s with a moody yet uplifting alternative rock sound, immediately recognizable by lead vocalist Dolores O’Riordan’s signature Limerick lilt. The group had a string of hits such as the yodel-happy “Dreams,” the tranquil “Linger,” and probably most well known, the grungy anti-war protest anthem “Zombie.” They slowed down in coming decades, and went on several hiatuses, but reformed in 2012 with the progressive Roses.
Sadly, this story does not have a happy ending. On January 15th 2018 midway through recording a new Cranberries album, singer O’Riordan was found dead in a London hotel room, having drowned in the bathtub due to sedation by alcohol poisoning. Several months of silence went by before guitarist and longtime co-writer Noel Hogan gave any updates, but he finally informed fans that the remaining members (Noel, his brother Mike Hogan on bass and drummer Fergal Lawler) had decided the band would not continue without Dolores but would finish the album they had been in the middle of creating. The resulting product, titled, In The End, came out in April 2019.
People would expect a posthumously released farewell album to be dark and gloomy, but In The End is surprisingly uplifting. This actually makes things seem even sadder because the band members appeared to be in such a good headspace creatively before the tragic accident happened. Lead single “All Over Now” is a driving midtempo rocker reminiscent of the band’s early hits, while “Wake Me When It’s Over” cranks up the guitar fuzz to “Zombie’ levels.” The second half of the album is dominated by relaxed, acoustic-laden tracks such as “Summer Song,” “Crazy Heart” and the string-assisted “Catch Me If You Can.”
The most memorable song, however, is the title track and album’s last song. Clocking in at a hair under three minutes, this pensive little ballad is a beautiful way to say goodbye to a band that touched the lives of so many. They may be gone too soon, but In The End is a wonderful tribute that won’t let them be forgotten any time in the near future.