Vinyl love: The Cranberries “Everybody else is doing it, so why can’t we?”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: The Cranberries
Album Title: Everybody else is doing it, so why can’t we?
Year released: 1993
Year reissued: 2018
Details: standard black, 25th anniversary, 180 gram, remastered at Abbey Road studios

The skinny: Living in North America, my first exposure to the jangle rock of The Cranberries and the incredible vocals of frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan was the single “Linger”. MTV picked the video up, MuchMusic soon followed suit, and then, it was everywhere. This was just the beginning, of course, because the band would explode and achieve outright superstar status the following year with “Zombie”. But we’re talking about the debut right now and this here is its 25th anniversary. Before Dolores tragically died earlier this year, plans were already underway to remaster this album at Abbey Road Studios in celebration and as you can see above, it also became a way to remember her glorious voice.

Standout track: “Dreams”

Best albums of 1987: #4 U2 “The joshua tree”

I bought “The joshua tree” on CD as one of my ten for a penny from Columbia House (or was it BMG? – I did both, take your pick) in my late teens, so likely a few years after its release. It was purchased on the basis of the first three songs on the album, each of which was tattooed in my brain from hearing them several times. When my package of discs arrived, I did enjoy those three songs on initial spins but rarely did I get past them, and it wasn’t long before the album was just a dust collector on my CD racks. Shortly after arriving at university, then, I gave the disc away to a young lady on whom I may or may not have had a crush. Either way, I didn’t miss it for many years.

In fact, I never fully grew to appreciate “The joshua tree” until the last decade or so, when it found itself back in my music library somehow. I was finally able to listen to it without allowing all the prejudices I had built up against the band and their bloated image to taint my experience. The Irish four-piece’s fifth album was their second to be produced by the tandem of Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. It kept the ambient underpinnings of “The unforgettable fire”, their previous record together, but returned some the harder hitting sensibilities of U2’s earlier work. Mix all of that with the furthering of Bono’s and The Edge’s musical history education, after hanging out with Keith Richards and The Waterboys’ Mike Scott, and you’ve got one heck of a record, much deserving of all the accolades that have been heaped upon it.

Indeed, I have plenty of new favourites on the album but you still can’t beat the triumvirate that begins the album so what other three tracks could I pick for you but those three?

”I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”: “I believe in the Kingdom come. Then all the colors will bleed into one, bleed into one, but yes, I’m still running.” While doing some reading up on this album, I learned how this song was built upon a drum demo by Larry Mullen jr. And if you listen to what he is doing here, you can really gain an appreciation for how great a drummer he really is, which makes the fact that he can easily be pushed out of the picture by the big personas of Bono and The Edge so unfortunate. The beat is augmented by Adam Clayton’s “one note groove” bass line and The Edge’s chiming arpeggios. And on top of all this, Bono is singing gospel at the top of his vocal register, mixing old with new, but pushing the universal theme of spiritual longing and the unending quest for meaning.

”Where the streets have no name”: “I want to run, I want to hide. I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside. I wanna reach out and touch the flame, where the streets have no name.” This was released as the third single from the album but it is the track that opens “The joshua tree”. And as great as The Edge’s guitar playing and effects work and (I suppose) the rest of the band’s performances are, I almost think they are secondary to the music video filmed for the song. Reminiscent of and likely an homage to The Beatles’ final live performance, the video shows the band performing live on the roof of a liquor store in Los Angeles. The performance was portrayed as being shut down by the police, which according to the director was as it happened, but it is obvious that it was all part of the plan and it all smacks of sensationalism. Nonetheless, I did enjoy the video back in the day and it’s rebel attitudes and the song has that same energy.

”With or without you”: “Through the storm we reach the shore. You give it all but I want more. And I’m waiting for you.” The first single released off “The joshua tree” was almost not a single and was in peril of never seeing the light of day at all. It was originally written in late 1985 but the band had to play with the arrangements for a few days before they were happy with it, coming near to scrapping it a few times. Their tenacity paid off because it was a huge hit for the band and their first number one in the US. It is notable for Clayton’s rumbling bass line, The Edge’s wicked sustained guitar effect, and Bono’s vocals, starting low and slow and building to explosion. To me, “With or without you” screams high school dances in the gym. It’s a troubled love song sure, but it was a sure fire hit with slow dancers. I definitely remember doing that slow turn and sway shuffle more than once to this song back in the day.

Check back next Thursday for album #3. In the meantime, here are the previous albums in this list:

10. Dead Can Dance “Within the realm of the dying sun”
9. Spaceman 3 “The perfect prescription”
8. The Jesus And Mary Chain “Darklands”
7. Jane’s Addiction “Jane’s Addiction”
6. The Sisters of Mercy “Floodland”
5. The Cure “Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me”

You can also check out my Best Albums page here if you’re interested in my other favourite albums lists.

Best tunes of 2001: #15 The Cranberries “Analyse”

<< #16    |    #14 >>

My wife Victoria had been a fan of The Cranberries for a while, especially their sophomore album, “No need to argue”, which came out around the time when her and I were still just friends, just getting to know each other. She followed the group through their third and fourth albums, and I’m reasonable sure she went to see them live at Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto in the summer of 1999 or 2000. I also really enjoyed “No need to argue”, but had gotten into the band the year earlier with their debut album, “Everybody else is doing it, so why can’t we?”. Unlike Victoria, however, I didn’t go in for their next two albums.

Then, the band’s fifth album, “Wake up and smell the coffee”, came out in 2001 and as I mentioned in my last post in this series, I was doing a lot of digging for music so I decided to give the new stuff a shot. I found the first two songs “Never grow old” and this one, “Analyse”, a fresh return to form, which makes sense to me now that I know that producer Stephen Street (who produced their first two) returned to work with them on this album. I played it for Victoria, who liked it as well, and after that, we’d both bop along to “Analyse” on more than one of the many road trips to Toronto and back that we endured in those days.

That messy opening drum line by Fergal Lawler becomes lovingly enveloped by jangly guitars that sound like a perfect blend of “Dreams” and “Linger”. Of course, the music easy on the ears but we can’t talk about The Cranberries without talking about the voice of Dolores O’Riordan. Those beautiful set of lungs and vocal chords are adept at producing yelps and snarls and heavenly chorus, all within the same breath, though on “Analyse” she is subdued, just teasing us with explosions until just the right moment and then, she unleashes it upon us.

As many of you reading this are likely aware, the world was robbed of that blissful voice last January when Dolores O’Riordan was found dead in a hotel room in London. As far as I know, cause of death has yet been made public knowledge but what we already know is that she was a talent that won’t ever be reproduced.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2001 list, click here.