I had no idea she was so tormented, and like many others, was stunned by her death at far too young an age, coming up on two years ago.
"No Need To Argue," the Cranberries' best-selling album, was released 25 years ago last year and a 25th anniversary edition of the album was released in September with B-sides and unreleased material included.
I had planned to post a "Match the Song Title" to recognize the anniversary but couldn't find the time to do it, maybe I simply didn't want to address such a depressing album that has become even more sad now that we know we'll never hear any new songs with Delores O'Riordan's distinctive, plaintive voice.
I purchased the CD of "No Need To Argue" in 1995, at the height of my alternative album accumulating. While many indie fans gravitated toward Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Alice and Chains, I preferred the Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage and Cracker ("Kerosene Hat" is a future Match the Song Title" post).
The Cranberries' major label debut, "Everyone Else Is Doing It So Why Can't We," turned me on to the band as their top two singles -- "Dreams" and "Linger" -- played on the radio. The alternative music cats in my work office liked O'Riordan quite a bit and so did I.
I had moved away from that office by the time "No Need To Argue" was released. My memory recalls 1994-95 as a rather bleak time, learning my way in a new place with new tasks and new people and never feeling in control. I didn't have my buddies around to discuss their love for "No Need To Argue" like I did "Everyone Else". It was just me, listening to an album that addresses the themes of loss and emptiness over and over again.
So let's have some fun and try to match trading cards up with the songs!
You know the drill. So on we go. No arguing!
Here's the track list.
Match the Song Title: No Need To Argue, The Cranberries
Track 1: Ode To My Family
O'Riordan yearns for the simple life now that she's made it. Now that Corey Seager is a World Series champion and MVP, perhaps he yearns for the days of playing ball in the backyard with his brother and fellow major leaguer, Kyle. Of course, the offseason of a champion MVP during COVID times is probably not all that hectic.
Track 2: I Can't Be With You
"Be with you, be with you, be with you, I can't be with you." ... Loss and longing all over this song. David Price didn't play for the Dodgers, yet he was part of the Dodgers, according to his teammates.
The above card sums up that seeming contradiction quite well. Here is Price, allegedly pitching for the Dodgers, except he never did that last season. There was actually no reason to make this card -- Price opted out due to the pandemic and he simply didn't play. For him, he couldn't be with his new teammates.
Track 3: Twenty One
Thank to Joe Buck, Juan Soto is still the first person I think of when the number "21" is mentioned. O'Riordan was indeed writing about the age, specifically the day she turned 21. Her voice is beautiful on this song. (P.S.: I love it when Irish people pronounce the "th" as a hard "t".)
Track 4: Zombie
As much as I respect Allen & Ginter, stuff like this is why I don't get up in the middle of the night to randomly check my collection.
But the card is appropriate for such an ugly song theme. This turned out to be the runaway hit off the album, which was totally unexpected for a record label that had actually offered O'Riordan money not to release the song as a single.
Simply one of the most powerful songs I've ever heard. It graphically addresses the violence in Northern Ireland at the time and the video is even more disturbing than the song and supplies a powerful punch to this day. I watched the video for the first time in years a couple of months ago and had tears in my eyes by the end. "The Troubles" were in the news for decades when I was growing up and into adulthood. As difficult a time we're having today, I'm glad I don't have to read constantly about bombs going off in Ireland, hijackings and plane crashes as I did when I was younger.
Track 5: Empty
To recycle the already old 2020 joke, the Marlins were a COVID-friendly stadium a decade ahead of time.
For me, this song sums up the entire album. The lyrics convey loss and loneliness. It's also beautiful.
Track 6: Everything I Said
Yogi's best-selling book in 1999 was titled "I Really Didn't Say Everything I Said".
This is a break-up song in which she realizes that he's the problem, not her. "I don't make you lonely," she sings.
Track 7: The Icicle Melts
Do the Braves still run races against "The Freeze"? Well, in 2019 anyway? The first loss by The Freeze since Opening Day came over two months later in June 2017. You can see it 50 seconds into this clip. The icicle has melted.
Track 8: Disappointment
This album is one of the most consistent in my collection, one of the greatest from first to last song. But, admittedly, it's dreary, and one dreary song after another would be tough to bear, if it wasn't for O'Riordan's voice and the creative things she does with it.
This is another broken relationship song, the disappointment she feels once it's over, how could she have invested so much time into that? Kind of like the disappointment Mets fans feel at the end of every season, amirite?
Track 9: Ridiculous Thoughts
Great song. "You're going to have to hold on to ... meeeeeeeeeeheeeeeheeeeeeheeeeeeeee!" This song was allegedly written about O'Riordan's problems with the British press.
But one of the first things I think of is how in the year 2000, we had no idea that there would be this thing called Twitter and there would be this thing called "ballplayers on Twitter" and somehow we'd feel it necessary to waste time discussing their ridiculous thoughts.
Track 10: Dreaming My Dreams
Beautiful and acoustic. It's about something/someone you once had but now don't have and can't have anymore except only in your dreams.
When thinking about the hobby in this way, I think about cards that I traded away and realized later that it was a big mistake. I don't really have any current situations like that, but I definitely have known the feeling in the past. The first "big mistake" was trading away my Hank Aaron card in 1975 to get the Ron Cey card (I won't apologize for doing it, it was Ron Cey, for goodness sake). I spent decades thinking, "I should've traded a different card."
Track 11: Yeats' Grave
Yeah, good luck matching up a card with a song referencing an Irish poet from the 19th century. Let's go with an original Wacky Package sticker from 1973! Dead dogs are funny! ... I can't see this being made today.
Track 12: Daffodil Lament
Did you know you can buy tobacco cards from 1910 for a buck? The one above is for sale for that price at your favorite online auction site. I just can't get myself to buy cards of flowers, though, which is why it's a buck.
This is my favorite song on the album. It's a two-part epic, mournful and slow at the start -- "I can't sleep HERE!" -- and happier in the second half. I've always interpreted it as someone who realizes they must move on from a poisonous situation into a wonderful unknown. I don't think this is what O'Riordan was writing about, but I envisioned her singing about moving her family to a new country -- "I have decided to leave here forever, I have decided to start things from here."
Track 13: No Need To Argue
Billy! ... BILLY! ... There's no need to argue ... anymore.
And that's where the needle comes off the record.
Like many music fans, I moved on from the Cranberries by the late 1990s and it's too bad because they were really one of the best things about popular music that decade.
But what a gift this album was.