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Key Tracks: “Conduct,” “Tomorrow,” “Schizophrenic Playboy”
One of our beloved '90s bands, The Cranberries recently picked up right where they left off. With their first studio album since 2001's Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, the Irish quartet gives us Roses, their sixth album to date. After their greatest hits tour in 2002, The Cranberries disappeared giving us little hope for any type of comeback. In 2009, however, the band reappeared and began compliling the eleven charming tracks that make up Roses.
The simply elegant album speaks of love, and the beauty and struggles that it entails. Most of the songs stray from the heavier rock sounds that were reflected in the 1994 Billboard hit “Zombie,” and remain more subdued and melodic. What truly allows us to appreciate Roses, though, is front-woman Dolores O’Riordan’s blossoming and richly accented croon. Over the years, really nothing about The Cranberries has changed. The band carries on with its rhythmic guitars, compelling strings and overall sound of pure enchantment.
Roses quickly buds open with the album’s best two tracks. “Conduct” begins with the ethereal sound of O’Riordan’s signature “Ahhhs.” The song projects an internal struggle over whether a relationship is worth fighting for. The beginning of the song argues, “Now it’s too late, I can see that we should not be together,” and by the end a resolution is drawn that, “When we’re not fighting...It’s not too late / I can see I know we can hold it together.” The music reflects the confrontational feel of the song with the marching percussion in the intro moving into a bright and colorful melody through to the end.
“Tomorrow” follows the opening track and has the most potential to become the album’s first single. It is the classic love song with a twist as it is a joyous call to live life to the fullest and seize the day with the nagging warning, “Tomorrow could be too late.”
The next few songs travel through the emotions of love, lust and heartbreak. “Raining in My Heart” reflects sadness and the lyrics are quite depressing, but it is difficult to receive that vibe with the song’s retro-pop sound. Delicate and misery induced “Losing My Mind” leads right into the heart of the album with “Schizophrenic Playboy.” This intense, thorny track warns of sexual predators and remains upbeat and assertive.
The second half of the album seems to withdraw itself slightly by being more contemplative and heartfelt. “Waiting in Walthamstow” is nearly a whisper of a song and contrasts greatly with its predecessor. “Astral Projections” is incredibly wistful and showcases percussionist Fergal Lawler’s extravagant drumming skills. The album’s title track closes the album much like it began with a harmonious acoustic sound.
Roses starts off with great promise, but ends up faltering when the second half of the album mostly blends together. It is impossible, however, to say the album has any terrible songs, but then again, anything encompassing O’Riordan’s voice can be considered beautiful or pleasant, and those are exactly the words to describe The Cranberries new album.
The listener will only be disappointed if they're expecting the band to take a different direction with their music. Otherwise, Roses gives us a flourish of elegant and praiseworthy songs.
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