Ah yes, The Cranberries, how could I forget such a band? Back in the day when my parents used to buy CDs they picked up the band's second full length release, No Need to Argue
, and played it quite often. One song that really stuck out for me was the ever so popular single, Zombie, which featured singer Dolores O'Riordan wailing out a strangely memorable protest against conflicts in Northern Ireland. But as the years piled on, my parents stopped playing the album and the band slowly slipped from my mind. Fast forward about half a dozen years and I find myself listening to a good friend raving about some strange band known as – gasp – The Cranberries. So she's finally convinced me to check the band out, and as luck would hold, I found my parent's old No Need to Argue
album. I was very pleased with what I heard, especially the aforementioned song, Zombie, and decided to explore the bands catalogue further. The Cranberries loving friend sent me the band's third album, To the Faithful Departed
, and asked me to write a review on it. So here we are, all up to date and stuff, great.
The Cranberries music is driven by the distinct singing of vocalist Dolores O'Riordan. Similar to previous albums, Dolores uses her powerful voice to set the mood in many different ways, such as the tearful farewell in When You're Gone
, to the emotional, yet soft protest song, War Child
, to the strange, yet bittersweet Will You Remember?
. Perhaps her best performance on the album is in the album's opener, Hollywood. The song, which bears similarity to Zombie, makes perfect use of O'Riordan's unique vocal talents. As with previous songs like Ode to My Family, O'Riordan's singing is upbeat and very memorable, giving the song that distinct Cranberries feel. For me, Dolores O'Riordan's voice was one of the elements that drew me to The Cranberries, and she certainly does not disappoint on To the Faithful Departed.
The album itself is somewhat of a mixed bag. To The Faithful Departed contains fifteen songs, and with an album of that length, there are bound to be some filler tracks. Songs such as Will You Remember?
, The Rebels
, and Bosnia
just have no room on the album, and are quite dull. Will You Remember?
, for example, is just Dolores singing over a music box (?) and does not add anything to the album. However, To the Faithful Departed has some excellent material, including the rocker Hollywood
; the fast paced songs Forever Yellow Skies
and I Just Shot John Lennon
, which feature the rest of the band at their best; the catchy, mid-paced single Free to Decide
; the softer, ballady sounding Electric Blues
, a song featuring Delores at her best; the list goes on and on. As I've learned to expect from The Cranberries, To the Faithful Departed reaches out to fans of several genres, whether it be a rock fan like me, a fan who prefers mellower songs like When You're Gone
and War Child
, or those who just want to listen to laidback songs such as I'm Still Remembering
, there is a song everyone could find appealing.
If I had to pick a weak point on To the Faithful Departed, it would be the lyrics. While Dolores O'Riordan can sing, I wouldn't exactly call her the next great lyricist. Many of the songs on this album speak out against certain issues like Heroin abuse in Salvation
, or anti-war protests in songs like Bosnia
and War Child
. Unintentionally or not, Dolores' writing feels very preachy, something I didn't feel I was hearing on No Need to Argue. Other songs, such as The Rebels
, I'm Still Remembering
, and Joe
feature the typical Cranberries themes such as love and reminiscence of the past. But we you don't listen to this band for impressive, introspective lyrics, so this short coming should not be a problem for many listeners.
Admittedly, To the Faithful Departed isn't the band's most sought out record, nor is it their strongest release. Though I do agree when people imply that No Need to Argue is an overall better album than this one, I still enjoy To the Faithful Departed quite a bit. Be it Dolores' singing style; fun tracks like Hollywood and I Just Shot John Lennon; or just the overall laidback feeling that the album carries with it, I can't help but smile when listening to it. Save for a few black eyes, To the Faithful Departed is a great album, and I definitely an album I would recommend it.
Free to Decide
Forever Yellow Skies
I Just Shot John Lennon