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A Lot Of Cranberries Sound Shows Up On No Baggage
on September 7, 2009
No Baggage is Dolores O'Riordan's second solo CD, and I think it is an improvement over her debut Are You Listening?. She has changed quite a bit on this CD including record labels. She is now on Zoe Records home to one of my favorite artists, Sarah Harmer. However, she and Dan Brodbeck produced both CDs, and she wrote the songs on both so the differences would seem to be more artist driven than by the label.
Cranberries fans will find this CD much to their liking. A lot of what you hear sound like it could have been recorded with O'Riordan's old band mates circa Bury the Hatchet. One of my favorites on this CD is "It's You". It mixes electric sounds with acoustic jangle, and it has a tinge of sadness that isn't explained until the end as O'Riordan advises "Don't wish your days away" as she has done at times. "Stupid" is a piano driven song that also has a very distinct Cranberries feel to it. She seems to be wrestling with something that she can't get out of her mind.
Other tracks also suggest this to be a cathartic effort as "Switch Off The Moment", "Skeleton", "Be Careful", "Lunatic", and "Tranquilizer" all seem to point to something deep and dark within. It is not clear if she sings of herself or someone close to her, but it is clear that she has been a part of a number of struggles in some form or fashion. I thought that one of the best usages of instrumentation to create the mood that goes with the lyrics was on "Lunatic". Here the piano playing builds to a crescendo with the right chords to create the tension to go with the lyrics - "There's nowhere you can hide".
One song that has less of a Cranberries vibe is the first single "The Journey". The electric guitar has a brighter sound and the riffs seem fresh. Another more unique track is "Throw Your Arms Around Me". It starts with instrumentation that seems to suggest a jungle or island location.
Finally, I found it odd that No Baggage includes one carryover song from Are You Listening? in "Apple Of My Eye". It was not one of my favorite songs, and a second recording has not changed things. Fortunately, this is the only real low point on No Baggage.
Overall, No Baggage is a very good CD from Dolores O'Riordan. What is somewhat puzzling is why she created a CD that could easily be 75% Cranberries in form with different musicians. Adding further to the confusion is that The Cranberries are getting back together for a tour in which they will play both their old material and songs from *this* CD as well. In the end I guess it doesn't matter as long as it's good music.
Download this: It's You