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The Cranberries close out peacefully with ‘In the End’

Courtesy of iTunes.

The Cranberries are back for the final album of their career.

Throughout the 1990s, Irish alternative rock band The Cranberries dominated the charts. Lead by singer Dolores O’Riordan, the group’s versatile lyricism in cooperation with O’Riordan’s passionate yodeling created a sound that was catchy while incorporating grittier themes. Singles like “Zombie,” “Linger” and “Dreams” are still a must-have for any ’90s compilation.

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Due to O’Riordan’s untimely passing in early 2018, the fate of the iconic rock band hung in the balance. Fortunately, fans are able to at least get some sort of closure with the band’s last album, which is appropriately titled, “In the End.”

Many songs on the album feature a somber tone. A lot of the lyrics touch on this sense of resolution. Despite O’Riordan’s death being entirely unexpected, there’s this feeling that the band almost knew their time was limited. According to Rolling Stone, O’Riordan’s vocals were originally demos that were mixed posthumously by longtime Cranberries collaborator, producer Stephen Street.

Sober listening:

“All Over Now” is the perfect tone-setter for the rest of the album. The buzzing guitar chords compliment O’Riordan’s soft singing as well as any other solid Cranberries song. The lyrics are pretty morbid, but that was to be expected.

“Lost” has a hushed vocal ascension that quietly screams woefulness and dread. The instrumentation is also much more intimate.

“A Place I Know” takes a left turn into optimistic territory. It also switches up stylistically, featuring twangy country acoustic guitars in the verses. O’Riordan croons a lullaby-like melody over driving guitar chords. There are some cliché lyrics like, “And you spread your wings. And fly away.” However, I feel as though this is intended to provide a sense of simplicity in the message.

Songs like “Got It” are a bit too basic structurally even by pop-rock standards. The chorus especially feels over repetitive.

One smoke session later…

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Songs like “Illusion” and “Crazy Heart” are perfectly listenable; however, there isn’t anything that overtly sticks out to me from an elemental standpoint, so there isn’t too much to dig into. It’s the same situation with “Catch Me If You Can,” although it does have some okay piano chords and orchestral strings incorporated.

“Summer Song” isn’t as peppy as its title might suggest, but it’s still a decent pop rock track with nice acoustic instrumentation. The bass has a riveting groove. The lyrics are more blissfully lovesick, comparatively.

O’Riordan has some awkward moments vocally on “The Pressure.” She struggles to really reach the high notes of the chorus. However, this is was made up in the passion of her delivery.

The closing and title track, “In the End” isn’t my personal favorite song on the album, but I do feel like it acts as an appropriate closer. O’Riordan’s voice feels mixed a bit too low, even with the bare acoustic instrumentation. It also ends pretty abruptly.

The one word I would use to describe “In the End” is tasteful. It’s a very easy listen from start to finish, almost to a fault. Pretty much every song here features the same musical elements the band was using in the ’90s from the melodic, buzzing guitars to the elongated melodies on choruses to even the poetry style in the lyrics. More than half of the songs are over four minutes, which is a timespan that is difficult to reach for pop-rock songs without losing catchiness. Fortunately, the album doesn’t feel nearly as overproduced as the majority of modern rock records. Street really allows the instruments and vocals to speak for themselves.

Overall: 6/10

Best songs: “A Place I Know,” “Summer Song,” “Lost,” “The Pressure” and “All Over Now,”

Worst song: “Got It”

“In the End” can be found on Spotify and Apple Music.

Henry Netherland can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @NetherlandHenry.

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