The Cranberries' "everybody else is doing it, so why can't we?" First Time on Vinyl in 24 Years

What a voice, what a loss. Dolores O'Riordan, lead singer of the Irish group The Cranberries died suddenly in London January 15th, 2018 at age 46. She was in town for a recording session.

O'Riordan wrote lyrics and on some of the group's songs, the music as well, including three on this, the group's 1993 debut album. She also wrote music and lyrics on probably the group's best known song "Zombie"—her reaction to terrorist bombings by the Irish Republican Army—which is not on this album.

No matter, though, this album is packed with powerful songs propelled by brothers Noel and Mike Hogan on guitar and bass and then there's that voice, so bold and forthright, yet vulnerable. Where are today's singers with that kind of vibrancy—male or female? There's so much wimpiness! "Linger", side two's opener, was the band's first collaborative effort. It's a bitter tune about rejection with lyrics by O'Riordan, who never thought it would be a hit. It spent 24 weeks on the Billboard charts, peaking at #8.

Yes, the production sounds dated today but it was so of that time period. For those who came of age with this record, hearing it again must be a deep and jarring trip. You'll hear elements of Simple Minds, Modern English, U2 and of course The Smiths (the album was produced by The Smiths' producer Stephen Street) in the pleasingly icy guitar sound, bathed in reverb and the deep, full bass.

O'Riordan's voice cuts smartly through it all. The album was produced before the smashing and squashing began so the dynamics are robust and spaciousness generous. The back of the jacket credits Street with engineering but the inside credits list Aiden McGovern (other than on "Not Sorry"). The venue was Windmill Studio, Dublin, so for those who are fans of that venue (me!), you know what to expect sonically.

The album was originally available in America on a "Audiophile Limited Vinyl Edition" (Island ILPS 8003) with austere cover art that made it look like a radio station promo. It's so rare it doesn't show up on Popsike.com or on discogs.com. This reissue both sounds better and is far better packaged in a Stoughton "Tip-on" gatefold jacket. Sean Magee cut from the original tape at Abbey Road and the lacquers were plated and pressed on 180 gram vinyl at QRP.

People bitch about the high price of new records but $25 for this well-produced record strikes me as more than reasonable. Analog Spark issued this record before Ms. O'Riordan's sudden death after which it quickly sold out but now it's back in stock.

The Cranberries broke up in 2003 after the group's pop audience moved on, unable to deal with the band's harder, more political message. O"Riordan released a solo album, Are You Listening? in 2007. Six years after the break-up The Cranberries (originally called Cranberry Saw Us), re-united and began touring but O'Riordan's reoccurring back problems caused dates to be canceled in Europe and North America.

Given that she was in constant pain, it's probably not a stretch to imagine that pain killers caused her untimely death, but through this and the other recordings, she lives on. Hopefully the success of this reissue will bring us the others on vinyl.

COMMENTS
vinyl listener's picture
Michael Fremer's picture
Don't know why I didn't see that but the prices are amazing! I'm rich!
vinyl listener's picture

... i'm surprised at the prices asked for some albums.
want a vinyl copy of tom petty's wildflowers ?
i've seen some sold for $700!
it's about the only petty album that hasn't been re-issued.

Corry's picture

I bought the vinyl version some time in the 90s and didn’t think much of it as an artefact, what with the black cover with the stuck-on CD artwork, and the CD booklet rattling around inside. The SQ is decent, although it’s always been a bit noisy. Now I’m going to have to give it a proper clean and (again) remind my wife that, when I pop my clogs, a good chunk of her retirement security is on my record shelves, albeit dispersed amongst a much bigger quantity of records that will be near worthless on resale.

MattyB's picture

I bought the original LP release (when I lived in the UK) and I remember it wasn't easy tracking it down - at this time in the early 90's many artists gave up releasing on vinyl. It was an odd release as it contained the CD insert - it very much smacked of an afterthought "oh, if you crazy vinyl fans insist...!"

vindixon's picture

My wife thinks you are a bad influence on me as she sees boatloads of vinyl coming into the house.

Michael Fremer's picture
A very, very bad influence...
kenkirk's picture

Some voices have a way of cutting through the background noise of daily life and getting your attention. And then they take your attention in another direction. She had one of those voices. We just don't get enough voices like hers on planet Earth these days...

NotAgain's picture

An overrated, garbage artist that hopefully not be resurrected as a ...
Zombie .... Zombiee....ehhh ....ehhh ...ehhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Michael Fremer's picture
What you really think! :-)
Analog Scott's picture

Did you have a chance to compare this reissue with the analog Spark?

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