The Cranberries were an Irish rock band formed in Limerick, Ireland. Originally named The Cranberry Saw Us, the band was formed in 1989 by lead singer Niall Quinn, guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan, and drummer Fergal Lawler. Quin was replaced as lead singer by Dolores O’Riordan in 1990, which is when they changed their name to The Cranberries. Although the band considered themselves to be an alternative rock group, they also incorporated many aspects of indie rock, jangle pop, dream pop, folk rock, post-punk, and pop-rock into their sound. If you didn’t know half of these “genres” of music existed, join the club!
The band rose to international fame in the 1990s with their debut album, “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?” which was a commercial success. Some of their hit songs include “Dreams” (1992), “Linger” (1993), “Zombie” (1994), the featured song for this installment from the album No Need To Argue, “Salvation” (1996), and “When You’re Gone” (1997). The band took a six year break in 2003 and reunited in 2009 to begin a North American tour followed by shows in Latin America and Europe. The band’s sixth studio album,“Roses,” was released in 2012, which was followed by “Something Else” in 2017. Sadly, on January 15, 2018, O’Riordan was found drowned in her London hotel room and, a short while later, the remaining band members confirmed that they would not continue as a band. Their final album, “In The End,” was released in 2019 and they disbanded afterwards.
As I mentioned above, the featured song for this week’s installment is “Zombie” from their second album, No Need To Argue. It is a protest song written by Dolores O’Riordan about “The Troubles,” an ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland that lasted about 30 years from the 1960s to 1998. The song has been hailed by critics as a “masterpiece” of alternative rock, as well as a grunge song that was really not like much of the bands other work before and after its release. The song was written in response to the death of two boys, aged three and twelve, as well as 56 people injured in an IRA bombing in Warrington, March 20, 1993.
I will admit to having reservations about featuring this song because of its direct relationship to this horrible event, but when I saw The Cranberries live performance of this song, the one I’ve chosen, as well as the covers that I feel do justice to not only the song, but to the memory of O’Riordan, I changed my mind. The reason for my reservations center around other songs that have been covered by artists that become very popular, even outperforming the originals, but at times devoid of the original meaning. The one that comes to mind is the song, “I Shot the Sherriff” about gun violence against police officers in Jamaica, by Bob Marley and the Whalers, which was then famously covered by Eric Clapton. Many people thought that Clapton’s version was the original, which makes little sense given the lyrics and their initial meaning. What follows are the original performed live as mentioned above, followed by three covers that I feel really do justice to the song. When you watch O’Riordan singing this song, it is hard not to feel the passion and pain that emanates from her vocals. While all the musicians are giving their all, the drummer is simply off the charts amazing!
The Cranberries “Zombie” No Need to Argue 1994 – This performance is live from the Astoria in London January 1994.
Postmodern Jukebox (PMJ)
PMJ are a music collective founded in New York in 2011. I featured them in DUTC#8 February 26, 2023, so for additional info on this collective please toggle to that previous post! Given what I’ve written about this song and its meaning above, I wanted to choose covers that, despite being out of the performer’s personal context with respect to the song’s meaning/subject matter, each have done a remarkable job of instilling in their respective covers the passion, and to some degree, pain that is front and center in O’Riordan’s performance of this song, not to mention the wonderful musicians behind her.
Postmodern Jukebox feat. Maiya Sykes “Zombie” The Cranberries cover – April 2018
Jacob Koopman & Kylabelle
Jacob Koopman is an Ireland based Indo-Dutch artist who has been making waves on the Irish music scene ever since he released his Debut EP, “Blindfold” (2017). He then moved on to Dark-Pop/Alt-Rn-B beats working with Brian Dwyer, releasing their anthem “Weight of the Wave,” (2019), which fans loved so much that they created a community around it, calling themselves the “wavesquad!” They are still working together and have produce several more singles. He has paid his dues by busking, a very popular activity in certain areas of Dublin, and has gained many fans thanks to a YouTube Dublin Buskers channel called Dublin City Today with videos racking up over 35 million views!
Kylabelle McKinney is a 19-year-old singer/songwriter from Dublin, Ireland. She has a YouTube channel, but there is not a great deal of information available on her as of yet, Given her voice, I expect that to change very soon.
I chose this cover for several reasons. Firstly, I feel for an outdoor performance they do a really good job of capturing the song’s essence. Secondly, while they may be young enough to not have been aware of the particular event that this song is about, their Irish roots have been framed by “The Troubles,” which certainly gives them a deeper connection to the song and its meaning.
Jacob Koopman & Kylabelle “Zombie” The Cranberries cover – Dublin street performance July 2022
Miley Cyrus, born Destiny Hope Cyrus (1992), is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Her music spans across varied styles and genres, including pop, country, rock, hip-hop, R&B, and experimental music. The third daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, she emerged as a teen idol while portraying the title character in the television series Hannah Montana (2006-2011). She has been referred to as the “Teen Queen” of 2000s pop culture, but has managed to shed that label, if that is even possible, as she has continually reinvented herself. She has been able to do that because of her voice and the incredible range that it has. That range and expressiveness are front and center in her live performance of this song at a fundraiser in Los Angeles. In an article in the April (2023) issue of The Atlantic, culture critic James Parker has this to say about her: “Cyrus has made her voice a drama of experience: the ravings of good times and bad times, the scraping-out of new depths, the attainment of raucous new heights.” All of that is evident in this performance.
Miley Cyrus “Zombie” The Cranberries cover – Live from the Whisky a Go Go for a fundraiser for Save Our Stages Fest (SOSFEST) October 2020
Los Angeles 2023
4 thoughts on “DUTC#13 April 2, 2023”
Working my way backwards. I vote for Miley.
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Yeah, that’s a pretty amazing cover!
All excellent interpretations of this powerful song, but I have to say that Miley’s is the most emotionally-wrenching and dramatic. Great post!
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Thank you! I have to agree with you on that one. My brother also liked that one the best.
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