She had us wrapped around her finger, and today we mourn the loss of Cranberries’ frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan.
As one of the most successful alternative rock groups of the 90’s, the Cranberries sold over 40 millions records worldwide. Four of their albums made it to the top 20 on Billboard’s 200 chart, including their massively successful, multi-platinum debut album Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? Songs like “Linger,” “Zombie,” and “Dreams” were top 20 hits and embedded into the sound that helped shape the ’90s. They were the biggest thing out of Ireland since U2 and built a legacy of music that transcended time.
But beyond that, the Cranberries made you feel something. Their music spoke to us and helped to define feelings we struggled to understand. In a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone, O’Riordan spoke about the writing process behind Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? “I know exactly what every song on that album was about…a young woman’s painful failures as an adolescent and her subsequent rebirth as a young adult. And I know exactly what night I wrote it on and why I wrote it. And I’m kind of proud of them because they do elaborate very much how I felt at that time.”
With a voice as unique and distinctive as O’Riordan’s, it’s no surprise that the world is reeling from the loss of one of music’s most iconic artists. Many celebrities took to Twitter to share their condolences and reminisce about the talent that was O’ Riordan. Fellow 90’s songstress Liz Phair tweeted, “Devastated for fans and her family- Dolores O’Riorden had such an exquisite voice, so distinctive and defining of an era. She would have continued to be a rare musical treasure late into a long life #gonetoosoon.”
Singer-songwriter Hozier tweeted, “My first time hearing Dolores O’Riordan’s voice was unforgettable. It threw into question what a voice could sound like in that context of Rock. I’d never heard somebody use their instrument in that way. Shocked and saddened to hear of her passing, thoughts are with her family.”
Foster the People tweeted, “Shocked and heartbroken over Dolores O’Riordan’s death. The Cranberries were pinnacle in showing me that it was possible to fully embrace masculine and feminine energy in one cohesive sound. She was a true pioneer.”
When I look back at being a young adolescent in the ’90s, the Cranberries were one of those groups that were there through so many milestones- my first crush, my first heartbreak, and everything else in between. I would sing along to songs like “Linger” and “Dreams” because they perfectly captured feelings I had but couldn’t find the right words for. (I also sang along to “Zombie” and have failed miserably every single time). Their songs made up the soundtrack to many lives, and it’s impossible to think of the 90’s without thinking of the group that was such a pivotable part of that era. O’Riordan had that unique ability to wrap you up in her voice and allow you to feel every word, every note she sang. She had that once in a lifetime kind of voice that will continue to touch lives; irreplaceable and unforgettable, she will forever be missed.
Thank you for the music.