The much-anticipated final album In The End from Irish alternative rock band The Cranberries arrived on 26th April 2019, the year of the band’s 30th anniversary of forming. It has been in production since 2017 but was completion was delayed owing to the untimely death of the band’s lead singer Dolores O’Riordan. A long time Cranberries fan myself – they are in fact my favourite band – I was particularly eager for the album release.
The first single to drop and the first song on the album is ‘All Over Now’. An incredibly strong start, richly layering the vocals and instruments; I absolutely love it. The title makes it all the more poignant, and as a listener, you can’t help but be reminded that we have come to the end of an era. The dramatic ‘Lost’ really comes through in the second half of the track, with the “bring in the night” refrain being where you can really hear the passion and desperation in her voice, topped off by the signature yodel.
as a listener, you can’t help but be reminded that we have come to the end of an era
As soon as ‘Wake Me When It’s Over’ begins it is like being transported to ‘Zombie’-era The Cranberries by the familiar sound, in particular Mike Hogan’s bass-line. With haunting ethereal vocals and little touches like the touch of feedback before the chorus, this is classic Cranberries. The gentle ”A Place I Know’ takes us away from rock to a much more acoustic sound. The staircase progression in the chorus is pleasing and its placement in the album is effective.
I was completely blindsided by the funky beat that only came in around a minute in to ‘Catch Me If You Can’. Beginning as something quite pared back, it is so unexpected, yet this makes it all the more amazing. ‘Got It’ is one of the catchiest songs on the album, undoubtedly down to Fergal Lawler’s drum line. This fun, rock-y track also allows Dolores’ distinctive Limerick accent to shine. ‘Illusion’ is another calm song that allows the lilting vocals to shine. ‘Crazy Heart’ is also very easy listening, I particularly like the sound and feel coming through in the verses from the rhythm section.
With haunting ethereal vocals and little touches like the touch of feedback before the chorus, this is classic Cranberries
‘Summer Song’ is one of my favourite songs on In The End. This song does exactly what it says in the title; both lyrically and musically. This gorgeous, joyful love song has the same purity and innocence demonstrated on songs like ‘Dreams’ and ‘Sunday’, featuring lyrics like “you are my everything / the song that I might sing”. The second song to be released was ‘The Pressure’. While it does candidly talk about stress in parts, it is much more about positivity and how particular people can make you feel better just by seeing their face, and musically it actually evokes a sense of relaxation and peace.
Speaking about In The End, guitarist Noel Hogan said: “Lyrically it is self-explanatory. It speaks for itself, it just is a lovely feeling and it’s a gorgeous song,” and I think I have to agree. It’s contemplative and poignant, with lyrics like “ain’t it strange / when everything you wanted / was nothing that you wanted / in the end”.And with that we are at the end of the album, bringing to a close three decades of incredible music. Ending with the title track rounds of the album well and reminds us that this sadly this means the end for The Cranberries, as the band have stated “the Cranberries was the four of us. We don’t want to do this without Dolores. So we’re going to leave it after this.”
It is not just a fantastic album, but a worthy epitaph for Dolores O’Riordan
Overall, I’d say that this album is a great one to go out on. Unlike many albums, this is one of the few that I am able to listen to all the way through. Despite being the band’s 8th studio album, it still captures the vulnerability first introduced to us in their debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? and yet is still able to keep surprising us. While the album covers serious themes, it is on the whole uplifting. Noel Hogan said in a statement: “Dolores was so energized by the prospect of making this record and to getting back out on the road to play the songs live. I remember talking to her that summer and she said ‘I’m starting all over here’ and a lot of the songs discuss that.” For an album that had to be pieced together using O’Riordan’s vocal demos, it is almost unbelievable how cohesive and unified it sounds. It is not just a fantastic album, but a worthy epitaph for Dolores O’Riordan.