The greatest thing about music is it’s ability to outlive us, for better or worse. The memories our favorite artists and bands leave behind in their recordings speak to the beauty behind the longevity of music, in general. Today, The Cranberries have reissued their Stars: The Best of 1992-2002 on a beautiful, double vinyl set that speaks directly to the legacy this band has left behind. Presented in chronological order from the band’s singles from 1992-2002, some of the greatest alternative rock songs of my generation like “Dreams,” “Linger,” and “Zombie” front-load this set of songs that sound as refreshing as the first time I heard them. The collection also includes two previously unreleased tracks in “New New York” and “Stars” that bookend this chapter of the band’s rich history.
The collection begins with one of my all-time favorite Alt Rock songs, “Dreams,” that lifts the listener up with its passionate lyrics and hope for better days ahead. The second verse of, “I know I felt like this before / But now I’m feeling it even more / Because it came from you / Then I open up and see / The person falling here is me / A different way to be,” reminds me of the complexities of finding ourselves through the fog of negativity that surrounds us on a daily basis. Next up is the tender and poignant “Linger” that focuses on Dolores O’Riordan angelic vocal delivery to hit its intended, lofty heights. “Zombie” features O’Riordan bellowing on the hard-nosed chorus that richly complements guitarist Noel Hogan’s playing.
”Ode To My Family” was the first track off of their successful No Need To Argue album, and finds The Cranberries experimenting with rich guitar textures and tones, while still remaining true to their creative core. O’Riordan laments on the chorus, “My mother, my mother / She hold me, she hold me / When I was out there / My father, my father / He liked me, oh, he liked me / Does anyone care?” while pulling the listener into the breadth of conflict in her voice. The breathy vocals on “I Can’t Be With You” are particularly powerful, as Dolores continued to showcase her vast vocal range over brilliant drumming from Fergal Lawler.
”Salvation” was the first single to be released from To The Faithful Departed, and found The Cranberries tinkering with their trademark sound by adjusting the tempos in their songwriting. Other songs from this 1996 album include “Free To Decide,” “When You’re Gone,” and the sprawling single, “Hollywood.” This collection includes the radio edit versions of these songs that demand to be played again with laser-focused attention on the thoughtful lyrics.
”Promises” opens the chapter in regards to the band’s fourth record, Bury The Hatchet, which was the first album to be released after The Cranberries’ hiatus from the fall of 1996 through approximately 1998. The dramatic themes on this record sway from heavy topics like maternity, raising children, and divorce. “Animal Instinct,” “Just My Imagination,” and the reflective “You & Me” round out the singles released from this complex era of the band.
Rounding out the final corner of the band’s next venture into success was “Analyse” from 2001’s Wake Up and Smell the Coffee album. This set churned out two other singles in “Time Is Ticking Out,” and “This is the Day,” that would eventually go on to sell over a million copies worldwide.
”Daffodil Lament” was a rare B-side to be released in this collection from the No Need To Argue Sessions, while “New New York” and “Stars” were recorded for the purpose of releasing this career-spanning collection. Overall, there is so much beauty, complexion, and lyrical deep dives to be done while revisiting this journey of singles that demand a re-visitation of the full Cranberries’ discography to breathe new context in the songs that make up each of their studio albums. But for now, let’s take a moment to appreciate the legacy The Cranberries have left behind to linger for a new generation to unpack and enjoy.