Posts Tagged ‘The Cranberries’

90s Irish rockers The Cranberries, had an inimitable lead singer in Dolores O’Riordan. She was cool, badass, and had a voice with many textures, and nuances. Their music was ever present while I was growing up, and they will always be synonymous with that time in my life. Earlier this week, O’Riordan passed away; here’s a look at some of her best work.

“Zombie” – No Need to Argue, 1994

Picutre this: a co-ed birthday party in grade 7ish, circa 1994. Everyone was hanging out in the basement, no parents were home. Some kids were smoking, others were drinking. Some were playing spin the bottle, others were flirting behind closed doors. The Cranberries’ sophomore album, No Need to Argue, had just been released, and copies of the album were in abundance. This song became the official soundtrack of that night, including head banging and slow dancing.

“Liar” – Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, 1993

My first memory of this song is hearing it off the timeless Empire Records soundtrack (it’s track 2 in case you’re wondering.) It’s a movie about a bunch of teens working in a record store, trying to figure out where they belong. It’s about friendship, love, heartache, community, and music. It hit home on so many levels as a teenager, and continues to do so, because it’s always relevant. Thankfully, The Cranberries were along for the ride.

“Dreams” – Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, 1993

Since we’re on soundtracks here, the first time I recall hearing this track was – believe it or not – on the Mission: Impossible soundtrack. I bought it (yes, bought) because in 1996, I was in a deeply loving relationship with U2 and they were responsible for the theme music. Lucky for me, this track also appeared on the album. It’s positive, uplifting, and hopeful; destined to make any listener feel like anything is possible. As a teenager – and even as and adult – this is the kind of music that stays with you.

“Ode to My Family” – No Need to Argue, 1994

This song has so many layers, I don’t even know where to start. The longing, the sadness, the memories, the history; the black and white video, the honesty and depth of the music and the lyrics. It’s so complex, but also so simple.

“I Can’t Be With You” – No Need to Argue, 1994

A completely underrated break-up song. The lyrics are sad and full of confusion, but the music seems more angry. It’s exemplary of all the feelings involved in a broken relationship.

“Free to Decide” – To the Faithful Departed, 1996

A tune for the angsty teenager who just wants to be their own person. The one who refuses to accept things as they are, and listen to nonsensical opinions. The one who, in spite of all the crap that’s happening around them, doesn’t give up. This one was all of us.

“Linger” – Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, 1993

If you’ve ever been betrayed by a loved one, this is your anthem. It’s just so heartbreaking, and makes you want to curl up in a ball and cry. let’s be honest, we’ve all been there.

“Salvation” – To The Faithful Departed, 1996

The first single off their follow up to the hugely successful No Need to Argue, this track amped up The Cranberries’ sound. Rocking short hair (which I may or may not have tried to copy,) O’Riordan was perfect on this track: pleading desperately to listeners to pay attention, so they’d stay away from the perils of doing drugs. My favourite line: “Inject your soul with liberty, it’s free, it’s free.”

“When You’re Gone” – To The Faithful Departed, 1996

This song perfectly describes the confusion one feels, when someone near and dear isn’t around anymore. With all the musicians who have left us over the past couple of years, it feels like my adolescence is slowly dying, and I am filled with this ominous feeling of “who’s next”? To those we’ve lost, and now Dolores O’Riordan too – this one’s for all of you. RIP.

 

 

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A wrap up of this year’s highs and lows in music, as I heard it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Best Americana Album – The Lumineers by The Lumineers
Americana is a musical genre that encompasses traditional American style, including country, bluegrass, folk, etc. With a surge of artists entering this field recently, The Lumineers stood out most this year. Their self-titled debut was infectious from beginning to end. Well done.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Best Dream Pop Album – Valtari by Sigur Ros
Dream pop is a music genre that is rapidly becoming more and more popular. It blends rock, pop and ambient music and is mostly instrumental with faint vocals (if any) which tend to blend in with the music more than stand out in front of it. The perfect combination to send you into a dream and Icelandic band Sigur Ros took it to the next level on their sixth studio album. Just listen.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Best Canadian Album – Hello Hum by Wintersleep
A great rock ‘n roll album, with a distinct east coast feel to it. On repeat for several months.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Worst Thing to Happen to Canadian Music – Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger’s Engagement
She used to sing about “Sk8er Bois”. He fronts Nickelback. She married Deryck Whibley of Sum 41 and dated Brody Jenner. He sings the same song over and over. She’s 28, he’s 38. On their own they’re embarrassing enough to our country but now they’re joining forces, tying the knot and becoming one. God help us all.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Best Thing to Happen to Canadian Music – The Weeknd
It’s no secret Canada lacks in representation in the hip-hop/R&B genre. Drake has been doing his best to keep the genre afloat, but he can now take a breather and let The Weeknd do some of the work. A soulful voice guaranteed to reel you in, is all over his three-disc debut album Trilogy. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Female Album of the Year – Born to Die Lana Del Rey
Her songs are beautiful, soulful and her vibe is a throwback to the 60s with a touch of modernity. Her voice is sultry and able to grab anyone’s attention with all its subtleties. This whole album says so much with so few words. Just breathtaking.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Artist Whose 15 Minutes are Up – Lady Gaga
Her antics are played out: her male alter ego Jo Calderone turned no one’s head; sexual ambiguity is so last year. Her unusual fashion sense is tired: shock for shock sake stops being shocking pretty quickly. Though she has had several hit singles, they’re interchangeable. Gaga, it’s about time you got over yourself. We all have.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Douchebags of the Year – Green Day
Green Day planned to release three albums over the course of four months starting in November 2012. Relax guys, you’re not that popular. At a music festival in Vegas, lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong threw a hissy fit/temper tantrum claiming the band’s set got cut short. He yelled out profanities and smashed his guitar on stage, while his bandmates followed suit. It always surprises me how they made it past the 90s.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Biggest 90s Comeback – The Cranberries
This year saw album releases by several 90s bands, including No Doubt, Soundgarden, Counting Crows, Smashing Pumpkins and Our Lady Peace. The Cranberries win because not only did they reappear after an 11-year absence, but they have neither toured since then nor has any band member gone solo or formed other bands. A true comeback.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  English/Irish Boy Band Most Likely to Succeed – The Wanted
Most band members are in their 20s, therefore a fan base past pre-teens and they co-wrote some of their songs. One Direction, their toughest competitors, are much younger (late teens) and were discovered on the UK version of the X-Factor. They’ll be famous but it will be short-lived. The Wanted may not rise as fast, but will last much longer.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Most Unfortunate Band Break Up – Foo Fighters
Foo Fighters announced an indefinite hiatus earlier this year. It’s technically not a break up, more like a separation or a pause in their music careers. As of now they have every intention of getting back together, but only time will tell. Here’s hoping.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Most Fortunate Band Break Up – INXS
80s band INXS lost their lead singer Michael Hutchence years ago. Eight years later, the remaining band members appeared on Rock Star in search of a new lead singer, and found one in JD Fortune. Aside from releasing one mediocre album, and a little touring, not much else was accomplished by them, so they finally announced their break up this year. Some things are better left untouched.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Band Who Should Break Up – Maroon 5
The band should be renamed the Adam Levine Show because he is seemingly the only member. Every video stars him, he’s a judge on The Voice and often lends his whiny voice to other musicians on their tracks. The band might as well cease to exist because Adam Levine can do exactly what he’s doing with any band. So why not just break up already and put us all out of our misery?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Best Collaboration Track – “Sweet Nothing”  by Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch
Calvin Harris collaborated with several musicians this year including Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Tinie Tempah and Kelis. He’s a talented dude, whose music consistently makes you want to let loose. But what sets this track apart from the rest, is the fierceness of Florence’s voice – there’s no contest.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Worst Collaboration Track – “Good Time” by Owl City feat. Carly Rae Jepsen
Take Owl City’s shrieking teenage girl voice, add Carly Rae Jepsen  – the 27-year-old responsible for the unforgivable “Call Me Maybe.” Combine with cheesy lyrics (ie “Hands up if you’re down to get down tonight) and a super lame video. The result is a track eerily similar to 2004’s cringe-worthy Shania Twain/Mark McGrath collaboration, “Party for Two.” I’ll post both for comparison but just a warning: no good time will be had.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Most Able to Pull Off Dating a 25-Year-Old – Madonna
Madonna is 53. Boyfriend Brahim Zaibat is 25.
J-Lo is 42. Boyfriend Casper Smart is 25.
You do the math.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Most Surprising Song – “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift
Swift’s songs are usually predictable, overplayed and an after thought. She has the squeaky clean, girl next door, goofball image. But this song is clearly a jab at an ex-boyfriend (apparently Jake Gyllenhall), and she manages to pull it off by making him look like a complete idiot, in a very tasteful way. Surprising because it’s unexpected and pretty ballsy, especially for Swift.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Best New Artist – Alex Clare
Clare went from releasing a debut album in the UK that nobody heard, to an overnight sensation in North America due to his single “Too Close” appearing on a Microsoft commercial. He wins this category for ingenuity. In his music: fusing electronic, rock and pop together with heartfelt lyrics and endearing vocals. And in his music videos: they’re odd, confusing and definitely make you think.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Best Live Show – Garbage, Osheaga Music Festival, Montreal
                                         Ben Harper Acoustic Tour, Massey Hall, Toronto
                                         The xx, Massey Hall, Toronto               
Garbage for returning after seven years away and showing up like no time had gone by. Ben Harper for demonstrating true musicianship through his instruments and his voice, while performing all by himself. The xx for making it impossible to sit still and leaving every fan awe struck for days.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Worst Album of the Year – Wild Ones by Flo Rida
For spawning tracks like: “Whistle Baby,” easily the dumbest song of the year; “I Gotta Feeling” and “I Cry,” both sampled from other artists; “Wild Ones” which features Sia, who also appeared on David Guetta’s hit “Titanium” released about a week earlier. Bottom line: Flo Rida wins this category for making an album of the most unoriginal music.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Album of the Year – Coexist by The xx
There aren’t enough words to describe how incredibly beautiful, heart wrenching, soulful and musical this album is – it makes you want to sigh, love and cry all while having a dance party. Once you hear it, you can’t un-hear it and that’s a wonderful thing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Worst Song of the Year – “Starships” by Nicki Minaj
Minaj got out-rapped by an eight-year-old on live TV on her own track “Superbass”. She has decided to dress as either a cartoon or Lady Gaga in public. She is also responsible for songs like “Stupid Hoe” and “Beez in the Trap.” But of all the ridiculous and tacky things Minaj has brought to the music world this year, “Starships” wins: the video is unwatchable, the lyrics easily written by a ten year old sci-fi enthusiast and whenever it plays, I run for cover.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Song of the Year – “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra
This song first took off when Burlington band Walk off The Earth did a cover and put it on YouTube. It immediately went viral and drew heavy attention to the original track by Belgian-Australian musician Gotye. The music is light and fun despite the sadness and anger that runs through it. Kimbra’s vocals take the song to the next level and pull even harder at the heartstrings. Couldn’t get enough of it all year.