You couldn’t turn on a radio or a video channel on your television in the early 1990s without hearing The Cranberries.
Their first three albums — ‘Everybody Else Is Doing It, So, Why Can’t We?’ (1993), ‘No Need to Argue’ (1994), and ‘To the Faithful Departed’ (1996) — sold 14 million copies combined and that is just in the United States. But by the time 1999’s ‘Bury the Hatchet’ came out, the shine had worn off for the Irish rock band.
Dolores O’Riordan (lead vocals, guitar), Noel Hogan (lead guitar, vocals), Mike Hogan (bass), and
Fergal Lawler (drums) soldiered on for 2001’s ‘Wake Up and Smell the Coffee’ (yeah, they like cliché album titles), but called it a day after that. As with many bands from the 1990s, The Cranberries reunited in 2012 for a new album called ‘Roses’ and are back with their latest ‘Something Else.’
Marking their 25th anniversary as a band, The Cranberries decided to do something “special.” They have gathered 10 of their hit singles and rerecorded them acoustically with the Irish Chamber Orchestra at the University of Limerick. To officially complete the cliched reworked album collection, the Cranberries have included a trio of new songs.
Fittingly, ‘Something Else’ begins with “Linger.” It was the band’s first major hit in the United States. It was also the first song the band wrote together when O’Riordan was just 17. As “Linger became more popular, the opinionated O’Riordan grew up right before our eyes and her outspoken bravado didn’t sit well with a lot of people. Still, that has no reflection on the songwriting of the hit single or any of the singles featured on ‘Something Else.’
The album is a nice walk down memory lane if you are a fan of the band and more into adult contemporary music in your later years. “Dreams,” “Zombie,” “Ode To My Family,” “Free To Decide,” and a handful of other songs take on another life in this acoustic, although boring format. The three new songs fall into this pattern. Playing to her strengths, O’Riordan’s new songs are about being sad (“The Glory”), depression (“Rupture”) and the passing of her father (“Why?”).
Just about any time a band makes a comeback with a hits compilation, or some form thereof, it usually means they are testing the waters to see if there still is any interest in the group. Rummaging through these hits from the 1990s by The Cranberries sound more like an outtake from MTV hit series “Unplugged,” which they did in 1995 by the way, rather than something new and fresh. These songs sound dated, overplayed and depressing. (O’Riordan, was never known to write a happy song). Happy 25th to the Cranberries, but I was hoping for something else to celebrate.