The Cranberries were really my first rock band. They still hold a special place on my heart, all these years later. Due to only owning a few cd's early in my life, I must have listened to these songs a thousand times each. After a ten year break, how do they sound now?
Well, first off, there were a bunch of songs I hadn't actually heard before. These were 'b-side' songs, bonus tracks found only in remote locations and deluxe sets. I'm not very fond of this business model, where half the Cranberries songs are locked away in albums not sold up front. I wasn't even aware of how many of these missing songs there were.
Thanks to the wonder of skytorrents and youtube to mp3 converters, I was finally able to get my hands on all these new songs cataloged at Wikipedia. So today was my first day as a true Cranberries fan. Sorry, middle school self, you were just way too naive. Of course, when I was in middle school the internet didn't even exist, much less all these awesome web tools, so it couldn't really be helped. At least back then there were still pop rocks, twizzlers, fruit roll-ups, pop-tarts, candy corn, NERDS, whoppers, and Pixy Stix. Who needs the internet when candy was still a major portion of my diet?
The Cranberries. Man, the nostalgia. It was like a whole new vista of the world opening up. I didn't even know voices could be this beautiful before I heard the Cranberries. This was long before I ever heard a great voice actress like Rie Kugimiya or Yukari Tamura, so I really had nothing to even compare O'Riordan with. As far as I could tell the Cranberries were the pinnacle of human accomplishment.
How do they sound now? The b-tracks weren't actually a major addition to their worth. Maybe that's why these songs were left off the main albums, because they couldn't actually measure up. Or maybe they just didn't invoke the same nostalgia in me so they automatically suffered a discount.
Among b-side tracks, the score was 4 listenable, 14 actual music, 2 masterpiece. The others scored much better:
Everybody Else is Doing it, so why can't we?: 0 listenable, 6 actual music, 6 masterpiece.
No Need to Argue: 0 listenable, 2 actual music, 11 masterpiece.
To the Faithful Departed: 1 listenable, 9 actual music, 3 masterpiece.
Bury the Hatchet: 0 listenable, 5 actual music, 9 masterpiece.
Wake Up and Smell the Coffee: 1 listenable, 10 actual music, 3 masterpiece.
Gold: 0 listenable, 3 actual music, 2 masterpiece.
Roses: 0 listenable, 9 actual music, 2 masterpiece.
Something Else: 0 listenable, 2 actual music, 1 masterpiece.
All in all, The Cranberries sports 6 listenable, 60 actual music, 39 masterpiece, for a total of 105 songs.
Overall it's a great showing, but Jesus Christ No Need to Argue is good. 11/13 masterpieces. That's 85% of its music on the level of Bjork's Pagan Poetry, Joga, or Human Behavior. Bury the Hatchet was no sneeze either.
I'm happy to see The Cranberries' more recent albums still maintaining a high quality, but as expected there's just no matching their early years.
Can anyone match The Cranberries? I suspect Garbage will. Sarah Brightman may not have as high a proportion of masterful songs, but in total number she'll likely win. Cranberries was my first band, but some worthy foes have shown up since then -- and Garbage was my second, so there's plenty of nostalgia available for them too.
However, the next band up is Enya, so we'll just have to wait and see.