1. All Over Now
3. Wake Me When It’s Over
4. A Place I Know
5. Catch Me If You Can
6. Got It
8. Crazy Heart
9. Summer Song
10. The Pressure
11. In The End
There have been many posthumous releases over the years, most of which are cobbling together of unreleased material that was not good enough for previous album releases. Many more were just a way of record companies getting the last returns on their investment, generally released straight after an artist's death. 'In The End' does not fall into any of these cynical categories. Released a year after the sudden and shocking death of Dolores O'Riordan, this is a fitting eulogy to one of the strongest and most recognisable Irish front women, that there has been. In September 2018, Noel Hogan confirmed that they will not continue as The Cranberries and would release their final album in 2019, stating: "We will do this album and then that will be it. No one wants to do this without Dolores". Dolores had recorded her vocals before her untimely death. Given that this was a decision by the band and Delores' family this would never be an easy listen.
It is easy to read things into lyrics after the event, but even the opener 'All Over Now' about physical abuse from a partner sends shivers down your spine when she sings "Do you remember the night? In a hotel in London they started to fight”, as we know now Delores' life was to be cut so short, in a hotel in London. The aggressive percussion and catchy guitar together with Delores' vocal delivery are The Cranberries at their best. It reminded me of the tracks on their first album, 'Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We'.
Throughout the album, it seems as if Delores is fighting her demons, and is starting to win the battle. There are dark moments such as 'Lost' which is slow and mournful, with it's strings, acoustic guitar and cymbals. You can feel the feel pain and anguish in her voice. as she sings 'I feel I'm Dwelling in the Past'. Similarly 'Catch Me If You Can' is a desperate plea for help with a dark piano and haunting intro. The desperation is palpable. By contrast 'Wake Me When It’s Over' whilst a dark song is full of swagger with acoustic guitar and staccato verse lines. again this is reminiscent of The Cranberries earlier work and made me think it was a gentler 'Zombie.' 'Illusion' is a very mournful but beautiful track.
What really shines through though was it seems like a corner had been turned, and there is real joy, in the simpler things in life and of those around her that ooze out of the album. 'A Place I Know' has delightful slide guitar and is a slow but more uplifting song full of simple understated joy. 'Got It' - is an up tempo, acoustic, number. It is repetitive, almost to the point of demonstrating to herself that "I know that I got it, I did not lose it at all'. 'Summer Song' is catchy and full of clever lyrics, and 'The Pressure' is positively Pop, and has the positive line that "When I'm feeling the pressure, you make me feel so much better".
The closing track, which closes a glorious history in music is very poignant, and would melt the coldest of hearts. 'In The End' is a beautiful as it is haunting. With sublime acoustic guitar and sympathetic percussion Delores reminds us that 'You can't take the spirit'.
This to me seems like an album full of retrospection, acceptance and of looking forward. The Cranberries have provided a fitting epitaph. It almost makes it even more painful that it seems as if Delores had recognised her demons, was fighting to keep them under control and was looking, excitedly to the future. This album is just as good as 'Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We', 'No Need To Argue' or 'To The Faithful Departed', and I think Delores would have been proud of it. We have Mike and Noel Hogan and Fergal Lawler to thank for completing the project, which must have been a very difficult thing to do. 'In The End' is the end and a respectful, poignant end it is to one of the few bands who had their own sound, and were unflinching in their messages. The rating I have given this album is not out of sentimentality, it is a very special, emotional album.
Website - https://www.cranberries.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/TheCranberries/
Review - Tony Creek