Black Widow

Artist: Dolores O’Riordan
Released on: Are You Listening? (Track #8)
Length: 4:57

LYRICS

Finding solace, finding solace somewhere
Seeking comfort, seeking comfort somewhere
Over and over, over she ca-alls
Over and over, over she fa-a-a-a-alls (hu-u-u-u)

The black widow, waiting for her lover
The black widow, crying in her bedroom
Over and over, over she ca-alls
Over and over, over she fa-a-a-a-alls (hu-u-u-u)

Pull me out, pull me out, pull me out, pull me out, pull me out
(Pull me out, pull me out, pull me out, pull me out)
Seeking comfort, seeking comfort somewhere
And she cries, and she cries
Feelin’ lonely, she is lonely
And she dies, and she dies
Feelin’ lovely, she is lonely
Recognise, recognise, the bla-ack widow, the bla-ack widow
Recognise, recognise, the bla-ack widow, the bla-ack widow, the bla-ack widow

CREDIT INFORMATION

Music and lyrics by Dolores O’Riordan
Produced by Dolores O’Riordan & Matt Vaughan
Engineered by Stu Young
Mixed by Richard Chycki
Published by Sanctuary Records Group Ltd

MEANING

In 2007 Dolores told in numerous interviews that the song is about the illness and the death of her mother-in-law:

“‘Black Widow’ is a song about my mother in law’s death. She had cancer, and she fought with all sorts of treatments: chemotherapy, radiation, but everything made her worse. […] Music is very good therapy to deal with death. It’s a part of your life. Everyone is going to die, everyone around you. And in the end you have to try to move forward.” (March 2007)

“When I wrote Black Widow it was my first time experimenting with dark music. I’ve always played around with aggression, happiness, sadness, but never darkness.” (April 2007, The Telegraph)

She came round a lot, so that song was about watxhing her […] You don’t know what cancer is like until you go through it with someone, starting on the inside and eating its way to the surface.” (May 2007, The Independent)

‘Black Widow’ was kind of just about watching the whole demise, ’cause I’ve never seen that happen before and I guess it kind of opens up your eyes to how fragile life is.” (June 2007, Calgary Sun)

My mother-in-law died of cancer shortly after I left the Cranberries, which was devastating. It was like watching a beast attack from the inside out, so the song ‘Black Widow’ is a metaphor inspired by that.” (July 2007, Chicago Pride)

I’d never really encountered people going through it before […] When you see what it does to human beings, you realize that it’s actually evil.” (InsideOnline)

Around the time The Cranberries decided to take a break, I learned my dear mother-in-law had cancer. I remember beginning writing that song on a particularly sad day in October. You know, when you are in your 20s, you think you are going to live forever, but as you get older, you begin to find out there’s so much of that disease in the world–it’s really very disturbing.” (July 2007, SoundSpike)

Just my feelings about it [her mother-in-law getting ill]. It was really strange because I’d come across so many people who have encountered it in some form or other in their lives. Whether it would be a brother or sister or parent or whatever but I became aware of how absolutely devastating it is.” (UGO.com)

NOTES

  • According to rumors, the song was written for the “Spider Man 2” movie soundtrack, but Dolores explained “I think the Spider-Man thing is just a rumor, something that developed a life of its own on the Internet.” (SoundSpike, July 12, 2007)
  • In this interview, Dolores also told: “I quite like the piano part on Black Widow. I had the melody down and I remember playing it for my husband and he said it’s really nice, but it’s really weird. And I think that’s when we started thinking it might be right for a soundtrack. He said it was ’very spidery.’ Then we started going through what we went through with my mother-in-law and I started putting lyrics to it. The way it all unfolded was such an experimental process for me, never really knowing what it was going to come out like in the end. But in the end I really ended up liking it because it is so different, you know?”

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