Review Summary: You'll always be special to me.
Time flies, doesn’t it? Lead vocalist/lyricist Dolores O’Riordan gets it - it’s obvious from the outset of No Need to Argue
when she laments: “Happiness was when I was young and we didn’t give a damn,” in “Ode to Family”. Right off the bat we can tell that Dolores is looking inward, presenting us with a more self-consciously lyrical virtuoso than that of the Cranberries’ breakthrough album, Everyone Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?
, and No Need to Argue
is the better album because of it. Have lyrics as simple yet honest as those aforementioned ever been penned to paper before? No Need to Argue
is essentially an encapsulation and portrayal of love, death, disappointment, yearning, war, and time; a glimpse at the notion that what we do on a personal level resonates on a collective level. It’s an album by -and for- the distressed, punctuated by gorgeous strings, ethereal guitar melodies, and Dolores’ distinguished Irish accent. However, even though its mood is notably darker than The Cranberries’ other works, No Need to Argue
limps with faint optimism.
Many will speak contrarily to such a point, but, despite the obvious yearnings and ruminations on the past, there’s something very telling about songs like “I Can’t Be With You” and “No Need to Argue”. I understand it now; it isn’t so much that songs like the former, what with the lingering self-pity of lines like: “How we loved so well/I wanted to be the mother of your child/And now it’s just farewell” wallow in anguish and regret - rather, they help us realize that despite the hurt, it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. I don’t mean to contrive myself to see optimism either - No Need to Argue
is unequivocally bleak, but it also reminds us that the past is worth remembering, worth getting upset over, and that, above all, it helps us grow and mature as people.
In this way, there’s a lot of nostalgia in listening to No Need to Argue
. There are, however, songs that don’t congeal. Borrowing from a messier palette, Dolores and co. occasionally throw a few heavier elements into the mix, and while familiar and good in their own right, they seem undeniably misplaced. Everyone will no doubt have heard “Zombie,” it’s been exhausted by radio outlets and other media alike. Even though it displays a keen political edge, essentially being the band’s protest song that touches on the IRA bombing in Warrington, England, it’s rather uncharacteristic of the band’s signature style. The heavy guitar riff seems intrusive, akin to grunge, even, but it’s inspired countless covers and remains a cornerstone of the band’s repertoire, regardless.
Aside such a miniscule criticism, No Need to Argue
is a deeply expressive, timeless work of art channeling heartfelt emotions. It teaches us to get in touch with ourselves, to hold on to the past but look forward to the future, and by the time the album reaches the final track, the message is as clear as can be: There’s no need to argue anymore. It’s tragic, really: “I remember all the things we once shared [...] And I knew I’d lose you”, but, as is a general rule with time, eventually we’re able to reflect positively on those memories and keep that person in our lives in some capacity. Acceptance is a great thing, and when Dolores’ wispy voice sings, “You’ll always be special to me”, it’s hard not to get choked up.