The Cranberries create one last album to honor late lead vocalist


The Cranberries’ lead singer Dolores O’Riordan performs in Barcelona on October 4, 2012. The album “In the End” is a tribute to her by The Cranberries following her death in 2018.

By Peter Zemeske

In the year leading up to the January 2018 passing of The Cranberries’ lead singer Dolores O’Riordan, the band recorded music for a follow-up to 2017’s “Something Else,” not knowing it would be the band’s final studio recording.

“In the End,” released April 26, is a grand farewell that beautifully captures The Cranberries and O’Riordan’s youthful angst.

In an age when beloved rock icons David Bowie and Prince have passed away, studios are looking for ways to keep memories of artists alive.

This can be done in one of two ways: Find old unreleased material such as album B-sides or demos and give them a fresh remaster, or compile unfinished material and create something new.

The former is a safer route, but the latter is a much more ambitious and daring way to honor artists.

Michael Jackson’s music was given this treatment on 2010’s “Michael” and 2014’s “Xscape,” both released to mixed reviews.

“In the End” used O’Riordan’s vocals posthumously with the family’s permission.

The Cranberries sound as punchy as ever on tracks like “All Over Now,” the album’s leading single, which was released Jan. 15, a year after O’Riordan’s death.

The track exudes fateful foreshadow with its title and lyrics. Fans are reminded of why The Cranberries rose to fame with “Lost,” an emotive and somber ballad showcasing O’Riordan’s signature yelp heard on classic Cranberries tracks such as “Zombie” and “Dreams.” An impressive tidbit about “In the End” is the fact that O’Riordan’s vocals are demos— meant to be finalized in fleshed out studio versions of the songs, but still manage to be mesmerising.

The album overall pays testament to her vocal prowess and skill. “Wake Me When It’s Over” hits hard with heavy, distorted guitars and O’Riordan’s wailing voice singing the title. “A Place I Know” serves as a contrast to the previous track with its acoustic strums and softer tone. O’Riordan’s voice is equally at home on fierce grunge tracks and mellow hymns. The album’s final and titular track, “In the End,” tugs on heartstrings with its beautiful chord progression and vocals. Both The Cranberries and O’Riordan say goodbye to listeners, longtime and new, after many years of making music.

“In the End” sums up The Cranberries career with high energy and soft ballads alike. Surviving members of The Cranberries have said they won’t perform the album live and will no longer perform together as The Cranberries, marking the end of the band, according to an April 26 Rolling Stones article. O’Riordan is proven to be a powerhouse in all sense of the word on “In the End.” Her memory won’t soon be forgotten.