Sound — 9
If you happen to enjoy music with a touch of Irish feeling to it then this album is exactly what you need. The Cranberries, appropriately from Limerick, Ireland, came from quaint beginnings with no intentions of becoming big in mainstream music. This was their debut album, the superb thing about this album is Dolores O'Riordan's voice. Trust me, It's one of those voices that you either love or hate on the first listen, much like Bjork's or Kate Bush's. It's incredibly emotive and can go from a delicate murmur to a yelp in seconds. But most striking is the fact that, on this album, it's just like one of the instruments, not mixed much louder than the guitars, and with lyrics taking a back seat to sound.
Lyrics — 9
Cranberries delivers their own beautifully lush backdrops for the stunning, much multi-tracked voice of Dolores O'Riordan. I Still Do - it's a quiet track, easing one into the world of The Cranberries. The music itself is simple and slow, and Dolores brings her alto voice to the table, complete with that ever-so-charming Irish accent. You would love this track more if you note the distinct background vocals. Dreams - a classic song from this album. This song had many runs on the radio, so I am pretty much positive that you might have heard this song on the radio before. Close your eyes and soon enough you'll be transported to a beautiful place called Ireland. Again, the music is simple yet catchy. Dolores experiments with the uniqueness of her voice throughout the track, giving it a very rural Irish folk feel. Sunday - it is slow-moving intro transitions into an upbeat tune. The tambourine throughout also gives it a folk feel. This is what I call classic Cranberries! Walking Back - it has signature classic Cranberries sound, not to mention the accompanying political message. The crescendo and decrescendo of the vocals is rapid and throughout. The bass line is very apparent and I think you'll also enjoy the guitar. Not Sorry - it has an amazing intro with piano in the track's opening. The piano is later transited into an uncomplicated guitar riff. The chorus builds to a wall of sound, with all instruments in high gear, and vocals soaring above it all. The outro echoes the intro, giving the track a sense of completion. Linger - one of my favourite songs from this album, It has sounds of an orchestra within it, which is weaved in throughout the song, but as part of the background. "You know I'm such a fool for you" are the signature lyrics; again with a taste of the bitter-sweet. Still Can't... - this song brings a strong bass part, which is more prominent in the song than the guitar. You will find more unique representation of Dolores' vocal ability, playing with the extremes of her range. It has a way of transporting one to another world.
Overall Impression — 9
On the whole, for the truth is I've been in love with this album since soon after it was released, and though it was a surprising multi-platinum success back then it can now rightfully be regarded as an unjustly overlooked gem. This album has an introspective-contemplative feel, mixed with the bitter-sweet. There is much unique vocal portrayal coupled with simple song structure, and repetition of lyrics within most of the tracks. I give this cool Irish band two thumbs up on their debut album! Keep in mind that I usually don't like female singers as most of them are really crappy, especially the new era female singers that just wants to take their clothes off rather than to sing. So in all that untalented singers and bands, The Cranberries is supposedly one of the greatest bands out there with a female lead singer (not in existence anymore, but still worth remebering). Give this album a try, you won't regret it!