Dolores O'Riordan, lead singer of the Irish alt-rock band The Cranberries
, has passed away today in London at the age of 46. O'Riordan's publicist confirmed her death in a brief statement, but did not elaborate on any further details, which likely will not be known for some time. While The Cranberries were forced to cancel several tour dates in 2017 due to a health issue with O'Riordan, friends and family confirmed that she seemed in good health recently and was in London to work on a short recording session.
Joining The Cranberries in the early 90s, O'Riordan quickly became the face of the band with her vocal prowess that effortlessly navigated introspective ballads and bombastic alt-grunge anthems such as "Zombie". Grunge, especially during the 90s, was a boys club with only a few exceptions, and Dolores was one of the leading femme rockers pushing the sonic envelope of angst and emotion. There are numerous odes and epitaphs we could leave for her, but in honor of her memory, we'd like to go back and remember some of the best moments of her music and spirit, and all that she gave the world.
Rock in power.
One of the first singles that The Cranberries released, O'Riordan's soft, tremulous vocals belied the true dynacism and emotional power present in her lyricism. Speaking to the pains and excitements of troubled love, "Linger" was where many of us were first enraptured by O'Riordan.
Released alongside "Linger", "Dreams" featured a more spirited performance by Dolores, who contrasted a whisperingly sweet intro verse with a soaring crescendo.
3. "When You're Gone"
It opens like the last slow dance and prom, and sways with the same mesmerizing dreaminess. O'Riordan shines in the quiet interludes of the song, but really comes to life belting the final verse, before gently carrying us out again in the outro.
While most of us associate The Cranberries with a specific era back in the 90s, O'Riordan and company quietly kept on putting out stunning pieces of work, and last year, with the track "Why", she demonstrated that she still had it. Written after her father's death, "Why" is a prescient exploration into grief and loss, and a reminder of her versatility and staying power.
This right here is what most of us think about when we hear The Cranberries and O'Riordan's name. O'Riordan was unparalleled as a balladist and and soft rock singer, but this is where she truly belongs. Listening to her belt the chorus, a growl in her voice, is a spine-tingling experience. Written as a protest song and a memorial to two young boys killed in The Troubles in Northern Ireland, "Zombie" is O'Riordan's masterpiece, her magnum opus, and one of her greatest gifts to music and the world.