The UCSD Guardian, newspaper of the University of California students, posted its “Are you listening?” review on May 10. Here’s the article:
The Cranberries were never the paramount wordsmiths in the biz, but their catchy-sweet songs also never failed to iron-brand our brains – nor the adult alternative niche of the 1990s, a scene the Irish band largely and so graciously helped carve out.
Lead singer Dolores O’Riordan, responsible for Cranberries tracks like “Dreams” and “Linger,” with which we have fierce love/hate relationships to this day, preserves that same elemental formula in her solo venture: primitive lyrics and a beguiling beat. O’Riordan clearly dragged some songwriting baggage into her new hurricane of haunting cries, occasionally upset by “Zombie”- like guitar crunches.
The problem is not only that it’s impossible for O’Riordan to be anything but “the lead singer of the Cranberries,” but also that her evident attempt at personal poignance is turned futile by elementary and predictable rhymes. I don’t know if the boys had a hand in editing her lyrics when she wrote for the band, but perhaps their presence would have been helpful here: The songstress sinks into such methodical triteness – “As the days go by/ The apple of my eye,” “Another lonely night in December/ It is the time of year people remember” – that it doesn’t even come as much of a shock when she rhymes the word “sea” with itself. In its old age, O’Riordan’s breathy Celtic yodel reaches new heights of sermonic insight: “Don’t let life consume you/ It could eat you up inside,” she projects in all seriousness.
On the album cover, the 35-year-old looks more chic than ever, sporting sleek black hair and a pea coat – a drastic departure from her Cranberries pixie cut and tomboy garb – but, unfortunately, her craft has not undergone the same maturing process. Sorry, O’Riordan – you may know “life is more intricate than it seems,” but your art is not. And congratulations, all you fading adult contemporary radio stations – you can finally take those old Cranberries staples out of rotation for a new breed of brilliance.