Review Summary: Picking the tracks to appear on Stars could have perhaps been likened to picking between amazing chocolate and even more amazing chocolate, but a very decent selection of songs has been chosen to showcase the career of one of alternative rock’s greats.
As cringe-worthy as some of their music might be, The Cranberries are possibly one of my all time favourite bands. This is due in part to such a large number of amazing songs, but what make the band for me, and probably for most others, is Dolores O’Riordan. Her voice was what the Cranberries were all about; it was even able to make beautiful songs from some of the shoddiest lyrics I’ve ever come across. Nonetheless, a greatest hits from one of the greatest alternative rock bands is bound to be fantastic, and The Cranberries were full aware of this fact. In that respect, they gave their loyal fans a huge double album featuring the best of their career, as well as both previously unreleased and live tracks. It’s no surprise that the band’s strength lay in their singles, and that’s obviously what you’ll find on this compilation; a collection of what is considered the band’s best songs which would no doubt please long time fans, and be a great pick up for the casual listener. The one possible criticism I can have about the compilation is not what is on it, rather what is missed out. A number of tracks that I would consider some of the best are mysteriously absent from Stars
, ultimately for the album’s disadvantage.
does well to capture the moods of each Cranberries album, from Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?
through to Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
. The dreamy feel of Everybody Else Is Doing It…
can be found in the first two tracks, ‘Dreams’ and ‘Linger’, the latter being the one that threw the band into the limelight. Although having already labeled them as a singles band, there were a number of forgotten tracks across their albums (and EP) which would have done very well on Stars
. In the case of Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?
, take your pick from ‘Pretty’, ‘Not Sorry’, or ‘How’, all three being just as good as the two tracks displayed on Stars
. What was unfortunate was that The Cranberries completely ignored their first ever release, the Uncertain
EP, which contains one of the Cranberries’ best songs in ‘Pathetic Senses’.
The band did well in exploiting No Need to Argue
, taking no less than 5 tracks from what is considered by many as their best album. The rocking ‘Zombie’ comes with no surprise, being the single track which is most associated with the band. Even after so many years of listening to the band, hearing O’Riordan blare In your head
will never get old. You can also find ‘Ode to My Family’, ‘I Can’t Be With You’, ‘Ridiculous Thoughts’ and the haunting ‘Daffodil Lament’ on Stars
, a rather decent selection. However, why ‘Yeat’s Grave’ was missed out is beyond me, easily one of the top tracks of No Need to Argue
In terms of whole albums, the Cranberries went downhill after No Need to Argue
. The strength of the singles found on To the Faithful Departed
, Bury the Hatchet
and to a lesser extent, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
was no less than the ones found on the band’s first two albums, but as a complete collection of songs they did not match the early days. Fortunately for Stars
, this has little effect, seeing as it’s only the singles which are displayed. A good range of songs were chosen from these three albums, ranging from the heaviest Cranberries song ‘Hollywood’, to favourites such as ‘Animal Instinct’ and ‘Promises’. It is at this point I will ask you, reader, if the song ‘Cordell’ rings a bell. The second last track on To the Faithful Departed
, ‘Cordell’ is an absolutely beautiful piece which does well to show off the fragility that can be found in O’Riordan’s voice. As with ‘Yeat’s Grave’, I cannot think of a reason why this was left out in favour of lesser tracks, but maybe it’s just me.
To finish off the album, The Cranberries give us two previously unreleased songs (‘New New York’ and ‘Stars’) and 5 live tracks. This was a nice touch and gave the album that little bit more worth to those who already have most if not all of the tracks. Listening to O’Riordan live is just as good as hearing her on record; her voice is truly remarkable. In that respect, the live tracks are fantastic to listen to. ‘New New York’ and ‘Stars’ are not on par with a lot of the other tracks on Stars
, but the fact that they’re here gives the compilation all the more value. So what have I achieved with this review? Probably only that my version of Stars
would include most of the songs The Cranberries have released. Nonetheless, the more down to earth version of Stars
does a fine job in capturing the best work from over the Cranberries’ illustrious career. Certain tracks which have every right of being on the album have been excluded, more specifically ‘Yeat’s Grave’, ‘Cordell’ and a number of earlier tracks, but you can be sure that ‘Zombie’ is on here, which should keep most of you happy.
Note: The live tracks are unfortunately only available on the limited edition of
Stars. As they're not on the above tracklisting, I'll put them here for reference.
# Ode to My Family
# Animal Instinct
# Daffodil Lament