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The Cranberries – ‘In The End’ – Review

Released by: BMG

Release Date: Out Now!

Genre: Alternative Rock

Links:  https://www.cranberries.com/

Album Line-up:

Mike Hogan – bass guitar
Noel Hogan – guitar
Fergal Lawler – drums
Dolores O’Riordan – vocals
Johanna Cranitch – additional vocals

Tracklist:

  1. All Over Now
  2. Lost
  3. Wake Me When It’s Over
  4. A Place I Know
  5. Catch Me If You Can
  6. Got It
  7. Illusion
  8. Crazy Heart
  9. Summer Song
  10. The Pressure
  11. In The End

Back in 1994, when I received the Cranberries’ second studio album ‘No Need To Argue,’ I would have never thought I would review the group’s final record, ‘In the End,’ twenty-five years later nor would have expected Dolores O’Riordan to pass away. This alone can be used as an example of how fragile life can be, and you should never take anything for granted. The Cranberries always had a special place in my heart as O’Riordan’s goddess-like voice spoke to me on levels that no other artist or band could do. Throughout the years, they’ve been categorized as my personal “therapy” music.

After each album, including Dolores’ solo work up until 2012’s ‘Roses‘ and 2017’s ‘Something Else,’ every time I needed help or someone to “be there” for me, I would turn to their music. For instance, after every irrational thought, I would crank up “Ridiculous Thoughts.” A family member or close friend passes away, and I would put on “When You’re Gone.” When I’m thinking about my family and old childhood days, it would be time for “Ode to My Family.” Let’s not forget the horrific breakups as I would cry religiously to “Can’t Be With You,” or “Dreams.”  During times of anger and frustration, I would turn to “Promises,” or “Analyse.” Even their later songs with “Conduct,” “Show Me The Way,” and “Why.” The list goes on with their unforgettable catalog as the band always found ways to provide a new piece of advice through all walks of life. If it wasn’t for music in general and the Cranberries, I honestly don’t know where I would be. I don’t know what would help me see that I’m not alone during a personal crisis, loss, and more.

I remember seeing the Cranberries live as often as possible when I heard they were touring in New York. I saw them while having severe bronchitis; I drove up to their show in Philadelphia to find out it was canceled once I arrived. If it weren’t for the Cranberries, I would have never met my music twin, which she knew where the short fans would stand at a show. Seeing the Cranberries live was more than a concert, it was an experience, a surreal moment seeing a goddess standing right before you. Or at least, that’s how it was for me.

When Dolores died, my heart dropped. I didn’t want to believe the news. How could a voice that has been a constant for me since I was ten years old, giving me advice on nearly every experience, be gone? How could my goddess of music be dead? And the way she died, accidental drowning in a bath while being intoxicated. This could happen to anyone. Many of us struggle with depression or anxiety and get lost in rituals without realizing their dangers. Her death could have been mine or anyone else who has a mental illness, depression, anxiety, sadness, or going through unbearable pain. Not only was her death terrifying, but it somewhat also reminded you of her song “Be Careful.” With that being said, on the same day as Dolores’ death, I encountered an unhealthy personal experience, and it was difficult to grasp, and for the first time in 25-years, I couldn’t listen to the Cranberries for guidance. Why? Because it took me a very long time to listen to The Cranberries again. I couldn’t do it. And here I am, writing an entire prologue before I get to the actual album review because: it’s challenging to write and heart wrenching to listen. I don’t like letting go of people, places, and things, that are so dear to my heart. So here I go.

In The End,’ was released on Friday, April 26th via BMG. Ironically, it contains eleven songs. Eleven has been one of those numbers that have always plagued me. Overall, the album is everything you would expect from The Cranberries. It doesn’t have their heavier/edgier songs such as “Tomorrow,” “Zombie,” and “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee.” However, it somehow, brings you back to the very beginning with the softer side we heard in 1993’s ‘Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?’

The record begins with a standard Cranberries song with “All Over Now” as it holds a traditional poppy, peaceful and poetic tone. Ironically, the track starts off discussing a hotel in London. Obviously, this wasn’t written about her death but sad hearing the coincidence such as “it’s all over now.”

The album moves to another soul-crushing track with “Lost” as it dives into moments when we dwell in the past and the reality of how time is moving fast. It’s another catchy tune, but things pick up more with “Wake Me When It’s Over.” The lyrics are as always, powerful. The song dives into the journey of trying to survive through the things that haven’t killed us yet, but it’s difficult to let go of the pain. As we all wish to “wake up” once a terrible moment in our personal lives has passed.

Here we are in 2019, and only The Cranberries can bring the 90s back to present day as “A Place I know,” sounds like a song directly from their 1993 debut. “Catch Me If You Can,” brings the group’s more electronic side, which isn’t a first we’ve heard them experiment on songs such as “Electric Blue.” For anyone who’ve watched or enjoyed the soundtrack for the 1995 film ‘Empire Records,’ would probably hear the resemblance “Got It” has with the song “Liar.” It’s once again, a seamless style; however, “Got It” is completely different and sheds additional advice on the struggles we have to face in our daily lives. Additionally, the song touches the subject of death, which makes it depressing to hear Dolores say, “where will we die?” 

The record moves towards a slower-pace with “Illusion” and picks up to another catchy Cranberries song with “Crazy Heart.” While I thought the tears were over, “Summer Song,” comes in next as the beautiful and peaceful track holds a strong meaning that can be interpreted in so many ways. Things cool down a bit with “The Pressure,” as it somewhat takes all worries and “pressure” off of us.

The record ends with the title track, “In The End,” a song you don’t want to hear because it means: it’s over. This is the final Cranberries song we will hear unless additional unreleased material hits the surface in the future. But for what we know now, this is it. And the record closes with an important message stating, “isn’t it strange that everything you’ve wanted, wasn’t everything that you’ve wanted in the end.”

‘In The End,’ is another album filled with the advice we can all use. The Cranberries has been a band that never disappoints both musically, lyrically and everything in between. All I can say is, thank you, Noel Hogan, Mike Hogan, Fergal Lawler for having the courage to put one final album together. It’s another flawless masterpiece. And thank you as well to Dolores O’Riordan from the beyond for providing eight studio albums, the Stars best of, and more, as your music has literally saved lives. I know, you saved mine plenty of times. As difficult as it was to write this review and listen to the album, it was well worth it. Thank You, your music will linger on.

Ratings: 10/10

Written by: Zenae Zukowski

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