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on February 29, 2012
On 'Roses', The Cranberries return to a melancholy mood with stringed instrumentals and lush arrangements.

In 1993, The Cranberries debuted with a sound that incorporated an homage to The Smiths and 1980's guitars and percussion blended with Dolores O'Riordan's soft, airy vocals with just the right amount of angst.

1994's follow-up, 'No Need To Argue' maintained the band's gentle arrangements while refining their rock edge with the hit song, "Zombie". Throughout both of these first two albums, The Cranberries' sound was perfectly captured by producer Stephen Street (Blur, The Smiths).

In 1996, for the band's third album, The Cranberries wanted to feature the "rawness" of their live shows by working with Aerosmith producer, Bruce Fairbairn. The result saw Dolores O'Riordan forgoing her signature breathy vocals for powerhouse delivery while the songs, in general, were harder and arguably less cohesive. Though 1996's "To The Faithful Departed" had its share of great songs ("Salvation", "Hollywood", "When You're Gone", "Free to Decide"), it lost the lush, melodic tone and layers of vocals and guitars that were so well-captured by 'Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?' ("Linger", "Dreams") and 'No Need to Argue' ("Ode To My Family", "I Can't Be With You").

After a three-year hiatus, The Cranberries returned in 1999 with 'Bury The Hatchet', co-produced by Benedict Fenner and The Cranberries. While 'Bury The Hatchet' attempted to blend The Cranberries "classic" sound with some of the styles used on 'To The Faithful Departed' (horns and brass instruments as well as stringed instruments), the quality of the songs were lackluster (compared to the band's previous efforts).

Two years later, The Cranberries offered a follow-up album, 'Wake Up And Smell The Coffee', produced by Stephen Street and The Cranberries. Though 'Wake Up And Smell The Coffee' contains a terrific collection of songs, the band had several obstacles during production that resulted in a less than perfect final result. The primary problem was the dissolution of the band's record company and the severe lack of promotion for the album. Additionally, behind the scenes, the band struggled with individual health and family challenges that led to much of the album's production being rushed or transferred from working demos with little studio work.

After disappointing album sales in 2001, years of world tours and personal burnout, the band went on hiatus on 2003, leaving their 6th album unfinished.

Finally, 11 years after 2001's 'Wake Up And Smell The Coffee', The Cranberries have returned with 'Roses', their sixth studio album.

'Roses' was produced by Stephen Street, who took extreme care to "recapture The Cranberries' classic sound" (as defined by the band's debut album, 'Everybody Else...' and the sophomore album, 'No Need to Argue').

First, Street helped O'Riordan return to an earthier, gentler approach to her vocal presentation. After years of touring (and a personal appreciation for hard rock), Dolores's vocals had evolved towards a harder, tougher, bolder delivery. For 'Roses', Street worked with Dolores to approach the vocals from a softer, breathier aspect - evoking a more introspective sound.

Next, Street worked to incorporate stringed instruments as part of The Cranberries' layered sound.

Over the years, guitarist and co-writer Noel Hogan has worked on solo projects to produce and record music, developing an interest and talent in programming. For 'Roses', Hogan worked with Street to add a modern flair of production that the band considers to be more "experimental" for them. The result is a well-unified collection of songs that reflect both Street's style with the band and Hogan's incorporation of cautious programming.

'Roses' demonstrates bassist Mike Hogan's growth as a musician. The bass lines are clear and compelling throughout the album as a whole. Drummer Fergal Lawler continues to hold each song together with a drumming style that can be compared to 1980's bands like The Cure and Modern English.

Though 'Roses' brings back layers of vocals, harmonies and pieces of background instrumentation, the album could have, perhaps, benefited from even more vocal and background layers. The richness of sound is obvious on 'Roses', but is still noticeably less full when compared to the band's masterpiece, 'No Need to Argue'.

The songs on 'Roses' are well-developed and enjoyable from start to finish. The tone is mellow and dreamy. Standout track "Conduct" opens the album and immediately signifies that "classic" sound for The Cranberries. Perhaps "Conduct" works so well because the music was co-written by O'Riordan and Hogan. The two have a special chemistry for developing songs that offer the ideal blend of melody and music.

The introductory single, "Tomorrow", is one of the rarer upbeat songs on 'Roses'. With an intro that immediately reminds listeners of 'No Need to Argue' b-side, "I Don't Need", "Tomorrow" is an up-tempo song that has helped to reintroduce audiences to the music of The Cranberries. Merging the band's feel-good vibe from previous hits like "Dreams", "Tomorrow" has a nice place as the second track on the 'Roses' song collection.

"Fire and Soul" is a nice example of the melding of contemporary drum programming and The Cranberries' traditional musicianship. The vocal overlays are dominant on this track. Though the melody may be a trifle boring, "Fire and Soul" helps to set the softer tone of the makes up the album's overall "chill" vibe.

"Raining In My Heart" is a very Cranberries-esque track with the opening guitars (think "Animal Instinct" from 'Bury the Hatchet'). The accordion offers a European feel and also draws some similarities to the use of an accordion from the band's debut album's "Put Me Down". The song's guitars also conjure some similarities to 'Wake Up And Smell The Coffee' b-side, "Cape Town" while the song's thumping drum conclusion resembles 1993's "How".

"Losing My Mind" is an interesting blend of Dolores's solo sound (2007's 'Are You Listening' and 2009's 'No Baggage) and The Cranberries' early work, particularly that of 'No Need To Argue'. The song is a peaceful ride to a rockier chorus that quickly and suddenly reins back, spending little time on the rock edge of the song's chorus and more time on tranquility. Dolores's vocal bends at the song's end are a strong reminder of The Cranberries' overall sound and Dolores's style as a vocalist.

Picking up the pace and moving into a more adventurous subject matter, "Schizophrenic Playboys" is the "rock song" of 'Roses'. This fun song has a James Bond vibe with an interesting combination of guitars and strings.

After the rocking ride of "Schizophrenic Playboys", 'Roses' quickly returns to a slower pace with "Waiting In Walthamstow". With it's somber strings and jazzy bass line, "Waiting In Walthamstow" has an appropriate London feel, while blending Dolores's vocal layers and The Cranberries' trademark guitars. Towards the song's close, one can hear traces of 'No Need To Argue's "Everything I Said", while the song, as a whole, is probably the most unique song for The Cranberries on the 'Roses' album.

"Show Me", penned exclusively by Dolores O'Riordan, is an inspiring song with a galloping rhythm reminiscent of "Dreams". The powerful use of strings is the key to this song's success.

"Astral Projections" was originally written in 2002 and was performed live throughout 2003. Finally released on 'Roses', the song is an appropriate fit for the album's dreamy mood. The guitars and dominant percussion make for a well-arranged song. Similar to "Losing My Mind", "Astral Projections" takes you on a ride of stillness to more of a powerhouse chorus, while quickly returning to its subtler self.

"So Good", also written exclusively by O'Riordan, is the closest song to those found within Dolores's solo work. A bit repetitive and predictable, "So Good" is a weaker song for the 'Roses' ensemble, but still has its shining moments - particularly with the use of strings, almost reminding the listener of sounds from "Ode To My Family".

Title track, "Roses", is a serene song, reflecting on the pain of life and life lost. Inspired by the health problems experienced by Dolores's father (who passed away in November of 2011), "Roses" is a somber reminder of pain associated with the loss of a relationship. Dolores sings each lyrics with a sadness. The fuzz guitar solo brings out a moving aspect for the song and helps to keep interest in the song's gentle melody.

Whether you are an established fan who is listening for that specific Cranberries "sound" or new to the band, 'Roses' is an incredible collection of quality music, performed by a band with a special sound and a unique chemistry as a musical unit.

'Roses' is not a departure for The Cranberries, nor it is a repeat of their earlier hits. It offers a nice blend of predictability and surprise.
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on February 28, 2012
Another great album from the Cranberries! It's very much in line with their previous albums, but I'm okay with that. It's WHY I like the Cranberries. They have a sound. It's the sound that made them famous and it's the sound that I've always loved. Too often, bands are coerced into thinking that they need to "evolve" (which is studio exec talk for "up the trendy") and end up with the band doing their impersonation of "new sound" (or even worse, they bring in a flavor-of-the-moment) The Cranberries don't do that. Ever. They make great music like they know how. Every album is just a little tighter than the last. For this album - think of all the great hooks & riffs, all of the haunting lines and Dolores's amazing, beautiful & unique voice. I'm sure it'll be the best purchase I make this year!
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on March 13, 2012
Deluxe edition includes a bonus live disc of a concert recorded live in Madrid in December 2010. The songs on Roses come from a band with a renewed hunger and in every corner you'll find the extraordinary sound of Dolores O'Riordan's voice, the pivotal instrument which transformed the band from a group of young Irish hopefuls at the edge of the 80s into an MTV sensation and worldwide super group within just a few short years.

Fire & Soul
Raining In My Heart
Losing My Mind
Schizophrenic Playboy
Waiting In Walthamstow
Show Me
Astral Projections
So Good

Disc 2 - Live in Madrid
Animal Instinct
Dreaming My Dreams
When Your Gone
Desperate Andy
I Cant Be With You
Ode To My Family
Free To Decide
Ridiculous Thoughts
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VINE VOICEon April 13, 2013
Having been a huge fan of the Cranberries back in the day, I was really looking forward to their comeback. One more chance to hear the band perform. Sadly, though this album is a far cry from bad, it simply did not reignite my love affair with the band. Sadly, it's not the melodies that are lacking here - they are truly amongst the finest the band has done in ages. It's what has always been a bit of a weak spot - it's the lyrics. Oh Dolores, why of why don't you try harder with your lyrics? It's like they were written by a fourth grader. Here's an example...

But it's raining in my heart - Every time we are apart
And the sun won't shine today - So I have to walk away
If I could fly -You know that I'd try

Seriously?! This type of grade-school rhyming scheme dominates this record and keeps me from further listening.
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on February 28, 2012
The Irish rock band The Cranberries are back with a new CD 'Roses'. The music (11 new tracks) in this new CD is unmistakenly the sound that made this band famous with hits like "Linger". Lead vocals by Dolores O'Riordan are as great as ever. Stand-outs/gems/solid tracks are "Losing My Mind" : I love the wonderful vocals & melody & "Show Me" : inspirational lyrics on being shown the way/direction in life. Great tracks include "Conduct", "Tomorrow", "Fire And Soul", "Waiting In Walthamstow" & title track "Roses". Okay tracks include "Raining In My Heart", "Schizophrenic Playboy" & the slow/mellow "Astral Projections".

On overall, The Cranberries are back following Dolores O'Riordan's solo project as if they have been always been here, unmistakenbly The Cranbberies' sound, a recommended CD listening.
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on May 30, 2012
Just a quick word about this album on vinyl.

Fist of all, it was delayed. They promised it back in February 2012, at the same time the cd was coming out. But then nothing came and there was no date the vinyl would be delivered here in the USA. Silence. And I think in the UK it came out without delay.

Finally they started selling in at the end of May. I just got my copy. Alas, all the excitement about the album was gone since I had gotten the cd a long time ago.

It is a good album. Not their best, I think, but still quite good.

The vinyl is a single, black in color LP in a single sleeve. Not heavy 180g vinyl, but it still plays fine.
The inner sleeve is quite thick and has a nice colorful picture of the band on one side and all the lyrics to the songs on the other. I like it.

The LP comes with a code for MP3 download of the album.

Solid 4 stars for me. Would definitely recommend this album on vinyl.
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on November 28, 2015
Doesn't have the hits on it that their earlier records did, but I like this album as a sampling of their newer work, because there are only so many times I want to hear Top 40 hits again and again. Dolores O'Riordan sounds as good as in older days. I can deal with her simple lyrics, which some have complained about - I just like their sound.
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on March 19, 2012
First of all I've been a long time Cranberries fan since their first record in 1993, they had a unique sound from the beginning with the interplay of Delores's vocal and with the rest of the band, to produce a very refreshing distinctive sound. Roses seems to carry on the tradition, even after almost 20 years, which I think is pretty amazing for a band. While looking forward to their new cd, when it arrived, I decided to play their first album first and then Roses to see how different or similar it sounds. Unfortunatly, when I first played Roses, on a fairly decent stereo system, I had to run and turn down the volume because my speakers were about to blow. It was at least twice the volume as Everybody else is doing it why can't we, cd. Even after turning down the volume, I noticed something else was wrong, the music had no dynamic range. It was so heavily compressed that the drums sounded as loud as the bass, which was as loud as the vocal, as loud as the guitars and background vocal etc. It's
not all the bands fault, but the record label's, sound and mixing engineer's, who over the last 20 years have been turning up the loudness in mixing and recording music in studio's, using too much compression and loudness and ruining what should be great sounding music, instead of a wall of mush that passes for music today. It is unfortunate that the quality of music is being compromised for the mistaken belief that loud is better and sells more records.
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on March 14, 2012
What is wrong with these people? The Cranberries never once faltered on this album. If lyrics are a problem for you, I offer a challenge. Start the album on track 7, loop it so it starts track 1 after roses. Then come back and write a review raving of the lyrics, "like I knew you would," (Dolores O'Riordan, Roses). Yes the album is great, give it a chance. You've not heard from them in a while but its pure Cranberries. This album has a genuine mix of song styles from all previous albums. My most favorites are... the whole album. Just wish there were more songs, as soon I as I heard this on Pandora, I went straight to Amazon, downloaded the album and have not stop listening. Enjoy, Cranberry fans, its awesome!
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on February 29, 2012
Okay musically this is the best Cranberries albums since No Need to Argue so what's missing? The lyrics the lyrics the lyrics!!! The sentiment is the same: love songs, songs of betrayal, songs of healing but the problem is these are some of the laziest lyrics you will find in rock today. Seriously!! It's as if they've been written by a five-year-old!

Here's an example...

but it's raining in my heart
every time we are apart
and the sun won't shine today
so I had to walk away
if I could fly
you know that I try

blah blah blah....
The reason why this is so annoying is because of how brilliant these musicians really are! Dolores as a songwriter is incredible but this is playing to the lowest common denominator. Its as if they are desperate to please everybody. The old cranberries took risks. I don't mind a softer sound as long as there is some fire in it and not the kind that you will find in "Fire and Soul"

Admittedly I bought this on a drunken night when I probably should have known better, but I am a 90s sentimentalist, so sue me!! I do not agree with those who say that this is a terrible band, in fact some have told me this is one of the worst bands of all time. I disagree wholeheartedly. I think these are some of the best arrangements they've ever produced as a band the songs are not as annoyingly repetitive as some of their other stuff. They have matured and it looks good on them. I would recommend this album if you were a fan of no need to argue. Be warned though, you must be willing to overlook some stinky lyrics and let yourself fall into the lush world the lush cranberries have created.
Romanticism in music can be a beautiful thing but it requires care and complexity so it doesn't sound shlocky and banal.
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