In The End

The Cranberries

BMG Records, 2019

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


If you were within earshot of any radio in the '90s, you no doubt heard plenty of The Cranberries on the FM dial. And if you're like most of us, you found yourself unable to adore the sweet melodies of “Linger” and even their more abrasive moments, like the smash hit “Zombie.”

Though they were largely inactive as The Cranberries during the early 2000s, they assembled again in 2012 for Roses, and then released the acoustic album Something Else in 2017. Of course, as we all know, Dolores O'Riordan passed away in early January 2018 as the band were in the midst of fleshing out this eighth and now final album. Thankfully, O'Riordan had sent her bandmates a hard drive of the demoed vocals, which is what was used to complete my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 In The End.

“All Over Now” gets off to an impressive start with a meeting of their harder sounds with sweeping melodies, jangly guitars, and O'Riordan's Celtic vocals sounding smooth and crisp, yet raw. “Lost” continues that strong songwriting with a subdued, darker track of flowing elegance. Elsewhere, “Wake Me When It's Over” finds the band producing playful rhythm with innocuous pop-rock that builds into louder moments of stadium rock, and “A Place I Know” continues the variety with a breathy, acoustic focused tunefulness that could have easily resided on one of their early '90s records.

Back half highlights include the extremely memorable, cautious rocker “Got It,” the dreamy sounds of “Crazy Heart,” and the indeed summery strumming of “Summer Song,” one of the album's best. The title track ends the album with much grace, as a slight orchestral backdrop helps illuminate O'Riordan's gorgeous vocals as she insightfully sings “Isn't it strange that everything you've wanted / Wasn't everything that you've wanted in the end.”

The remainder of The Cranberries, brothers Mike and Noel Hogan and Fergal Lawler, were understandably concerned that this conclusion of their legacy would have to be up to snuff, if not surpass their earlier albums, as it was too important to honor O'Riordan's spirit properly. Reportedly, O'Riordan was quite excited about this album, and it’s pretty obvious why; it comes with all the power, grit, and universal, gripping melody we love about The Cranberries, while running the gamut of their sounds with soft, agile moments as well as thundering, incendiary rock. As far as farewells go, it just doesn't get any better than this.

Rating: A

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