As I write this blog entry, I am coming to accept the realization that I will never get a chance to see The Cranberries live with Dolores O’Riordan on stage. It is a strange sensation that I have felt more and more often lately as the Icons of my youth have passed away one by one. From Tom Petty to David Bowie to Chris Cornell and more, these past few years have been devastating to the music I grew up with and today I lost other one in Ms. O’Riordan. I had planned on including one of The Cranberries albums in my occasional Stand Out Albums posts, and I had hoped it would be accompanied by a review of one of their concerts of their planned tours this year. Sadly, this will not be possible.
So today, with a deep sorrow, I bring you the album of theirs that spoke to me the most, the aptly titled To The Faithful Departed.
Why This Album?
The Cranberries had become a staple of mine by 1996 and, although considered by some to be their worst album, this is one that came at a time that I was looking to my future. At the time I was finishing school and soon would be out on my own for the first time in my life. This, along with a few others, would represent a period of change in my life and all the good and bad that went with it.
Composed of 13 tracks in the original U.S. release, this album would, like albums past, continue covering both political and historical events with the amazing voice that only O’Riordan could provide. I relished her Irish rogue that would melt into a gorgeous lilt as she sang me into a daydream. From the amazing Free To Decide that spoke of release from constraints to the odd but fascinating I Just Shot John Lennon, to even referencing Kurt Cobain in I’m Still Remembering, every track had something that kept me coming back for more.
While it is not their finest work, it is certainly one that means the most to me as it came about in a key moment of my formative years. The time I had to start deciding who I was and what I wanted in life. Whether this album helped guide me or divert me to another path, I don’t know for sure, I just know that Dolores and the band were there with me for the ride.
One of my favorite Album Tracks is Electric Blue. Starting with an almost operatic chant, and clearly inspired by her Catholic upbringing, it goes into an incredible false harmony all composed of Dolores’ voice overlayed multiple times. It is almost entrancing at times.
Next, the song she wrote for her grandfather who had died the year the album was produced and for whom the album is partially dedicated to, Joe.
Finally, My Favorite Track from this album wasn’t on the original American release but on the UK release and on the When You’re Gone EP in the US. It is Cordell and even today, it chokes me up. Here it is for you, it is so much more powerful now that she is gone.
Ok, Where do I get it?
This is one that you can run across in most record shops and even find with a quick search on eBay. I recommend the complete sessions version as it contains the missing UK tracks including Cordell. It even has an excellent cover of the Fleetwood Mac classic ‘Go Your Own Way’!
The easiest place to listen to the album is via Spotify here.
You can also grab a copy to buy here from Grooves for around $10. It’s totally worth it.
The Cranberries official Site: www.cranberries.com
I hope you enjoy this album as much as I do.
Late To The Game 1/16/2018
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