The year is 1994 and I am a mere six years old. Riding in the back seat of Mom’s van with the sliding door, a song comes on the radio. The guitars blare and the drums thrum and this voice… the powerful soulful voice of Dolores O’Riordan envelops my soul. My heart soars, as I rock out to “Zombie,” for the very first time. From that day forward my life was forever changed. Music had meaning. There was reason to the pain, to the loss, to the ebb and flow that life’s fingers entwine deep into our hearts and for the first time, I listened.
The following year, I had to bring a tape or a CD to music class for “music show and tell.” Everyone else brought some country music or Christian rock or Spice Girls. Something safe. I wanted to bring “Zombie.” Mom questioned my choice with a raised eye brow, but she allowed it. The teacher played about 45 seconds of the epic track before turning it off because some girl in class burst into tears and said the music scared her.
I wasn’t afraid. I was excited to feel. At recess when I was feeling like keeping to myself, or feeling lonely, I would walk around behind the play ground on the hills and sing “Empty,” or “The Icicle melts.” When I heard “Dreams” for the first time I felt like a princess who had escaped goblins in a high tower. I had a very vivid imagination and this was the story my young mind wrote.
Listening to such powerful music at such a young age certainly shaped me. It help open the door for many conversations with my mother about family and getting along. “Ode to my Family,” resonated with me because for the first time, I felt understood. “Do you see me?/ Do you see?/ Do you like me?/ Do you like me standin’ there?/ D’you notice?/ Does anyone care?/ …Unhappiness was when I was young and we didn’t give a damn.”
I’m adopted. This whole song perfectly articulated how I felt about wanting to fit in to my new family. Sometimes kids just feel out of place. This whole album was my rhyme and reason.
Every road trip we took, either for my sister’s basketball competitions or to visit family, or whatever, would consist of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast sound track and The Cranberries. Ask anyone in my family and they’ll say the artists I like are “Evanescence and The Cranberries.”
So far beyond my years in terms of maturity, the album “No Need To Argue,” truly moved my little soul from childhood and well into adulthood. O’ Riordan shaped my voice, musically, too. She has referred to it as “incorporating yodeling.” Pulling from her inspiration, I, too sing with a curve in my voice. In addition to this, the guitar and strings all rounded up together was a first for me. Most rock music back them was guitar and drum heavy, but O’Riordan wasn’t afraid to take risks and she paved the way for other musical artists like Amy Lee/ Evanescence, Jewel, Alanis Morisette. The combination of other strings mixed with the guitar was genius. Listen to “Twenty one,” and you’ll get a sense of the clever compilation that this band composed. Insane. Brilliant. Raw. Fearless.
I was headed to the doctor’s office today when I found out about O’ Riordan’s passage. I can’t even begin to put into words how much this loss grieves me. She shaped me from a very young age, musically. Angst was an angel in disguise through the vocals and lyrics. I got through growing pains, break ups, and losses of my own through The Cranberries. While most people talk of “Dreams,” or “Zombie,” the music that truly moved me were the quiet ballads that softly released deep emotion.
Whatever your favorite song was by this band, please celebrate the fact that O’Riordan lived long enough to grace us with her incredible talent. Thank you. Dolores. Thank you Cranberries.
You’re a dream to me.
Love and light,
P.S. A huge thank you goes out to my dad, Mike, for making my blog banner! It is beautiful, and I so appreciate you. Thank you so much!
Remember to be kind to yourself and if you or someone close to you is in serious distress or simply needs to talk to someone, please call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text 741741.