Five years after ending their 11-year hiatus in 2012 with Roses, the cranberries fully embrace their status as a legacy act on their newest release, Something Else, out just in time to celebrate 25 years since the release of their first single. The record, recorded with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, consists mainly of new unplugged orchestral versions of their biggest hits and best known songs, and it’s no coincidence the cover is a recreation of No Need To Argue, their most successful album. The couch is back!
In addition to their 10 best known songs, Something Else also contains three new ones, all notably mellow but fitting for this collection and a fresh addition to the band’s library. While they rocked hard on songs like Zombie, Promises and Salvation (the latter two of which are absent here), there was something pleasing about their lighter side on songs like Ode To My Family and Linger. A side that is captured well here – albeit almost too much.
Like most cases of re-recordings of old favourites, it’s hard to top songs that have had more than two decades to gel and solidify. In the case of Zombie, with over half-a-billion views on YouTube, it’s one of the most watched videos from the 90s. While this record tones things down quite a bit, it shies away from making much noise at all. Dolores O’Riordan’s vocals shine in these new arrangements but never strays and remains very hushed. She sounds indifferent.
And maybe that’s because Something Else plays it too safe. On one hand, the decision to stick with the singles was the obvious option as the band aren’t particularly known beyond their hits, but on the other hand, this album isn’t likely to interest anyone outside of their own fanbase who themselves would be interested in hearing something other than the singles. The tracklisting is essentially duplicating their Best Of album, excluding anything from their practically unknown fifth album Wake Up And Smell The Coffee and their aforementioned comeback release Roses. (Incidentally, Analyze, from Wake Up, would have been a welcome addition here and it was that album’s best performing single and a solid song anyway!)
In any case, this collection likely exists to give the band something else to tour, and any reason to get them back on the road is good enough. Here’s hoping the live performance packs more of a punch than the recorded one.
2. The Glory
4. When You’re Gone
6. Ridiculous Thoughts
8. Ode To My Family
9. Free To Decide
10. Just My Imagination
11. Animal Instinct
12. You & Me