Earlier this week, the music world was struck with one of the first major losses of the year: the passing of The Cranberries' singer Dolores O'Riordan. The world was quick to react, expressing how her voice meant more than just the defining feature of any other band: O'Riordan's voice was as peaceful as it was intense, as serene as it was broken, and as powerful as it was susceptible.
The Cranberries helped put Ireland on the mainstage of the music scene, and a large part of that is thanks to O'Riordan's voice. In her passing, it's a perfect time to reflect upon that real power that lied in her voice. The Cranberries turned their struggles to art in No Need To Argue, their 1994 record that cemented their importance in Irish music.
It's easy to get lost in the captivating, soothing tone of O'Riordan's voice. 'Ode To My Family' begins peacefully with her voice crooning gentle, as it does. Behind those gorgeous vocals, however, is a more personal story: the song is about her childhood, which wasn't plentiful but was one where she learned to make the best of what she had. That same rustic upbringing gives credence to the rest of the album and it's personal, grassroots presence. Other personal stories are told in the more anthemic 'I Can't Be With You' and the enchanting, dramatic 'Daffodil Lament' with its beautiful ending.
Struggle is a key component of The Cranberries, and No Need To Argue would not be complete without it. 'Zombie,' the band's token song, perfectly captures the pain they try to release. The song is about The Troubles of Ireland, and was written about two boys who lost their lives in the IRA bombings in 1993. 'Yeat's Grave,' in similar fashion, is dark and describes those struggles. O'Riordan makes a battle cry in 'Empty,' the serene vocals and anthemic presence making for a powerful yet vulnerable. Closing track 'No Need To Argue' takes the album out on a stripped down note, with only synth chords playing under O'Riordan's voice. It's a beautiful end, wrapping the record with a intimate note to conclude.
The Cranberries turned their struggles to art in No Need To Argue, an album that helped bring to light what the culture of Ireland was. Dolores O'Riordan made it all happen with her voice, and that's not to discredit the rest of the band; but that voice is what made The Cranberries stand out amongst the rest. She voiced the struggle of a whole country, and until her final moments she continued to be a powerful, inspirational voice for those who followed.
Rest in peace, Dolores O'Riordan.
Favorite Tracks: Zombie, No Need To Argue, Dreaming My Dreams
Least Favorite Track: The Icicle Melts
Rating: 78 / 100
Stream or buy No Need To Argue on Apple Music: