The Cranberries Lead Singer Dolores O’Riodan’s Death Leaves A Hole In The Heart Of Sad-Girl Rock

by Sarah C. Epstein


River dancing, Bono’s sunglasses, Guinness beer, potatoes. These are just a handful of things that Ireland has gifted to North America over the years. (I’m kidding, of course — like many things that white nations claim as theirs, potatoes actually hail from Peru).

We can also thank Ireland for the Dolores O’Riodan, the lead singer of the iconic ’90s rock band The Cranberries, who was found dead on Monday in her hotel room in London, according to Rolling Stone. She was 46.

The Cranberries made waves when they first swam across the pond nearly three decades ago. Formed in 1989 by brothers Mike and Noel Hogan, and later joined by lead singer Dolores O’Riordan in 1990, the band didn’t rise to notoriety until 1994 when O’Riordan’s deep, melancholic vocals caught the attention of MTV. The band then topped the charts with their singles “Linger” and “Dreams.”

Their music has stayed squarely in that decade, showing up in throwbacks and best of the ’90s playlists, and they parted ways in the early 2000s. However, they reunited recently, dropping an acoustic album in April 2017.  According to Rolling Stone, their planned tour forthe album was postponed due to O’Riordan’s chronic backpain. Only in her mid 40s, the cause of her death is unknown, but some speculate that O’Riordan’s struggle with bipolar disorder may have contributed, reports Inquisitr.

Even if you’re not a fan of vintage, sad-girl rock — including the likes of Mazzy Star, Sinead O’Connor, and Alanis Morrisette — you’ve probably still heard O’Riordan’s crooning’s in some iconic ’90s film. Her death has also shed new light on her complicated political legacy. In 2014, years before #MeToo swept the nation, O’Riordan spoke out about her own experience of child sexual abuse in the Irish Independent, and encouraged others to do the same. She was open about her mental health and her struggles with anorexia, depression and bipolar disorder. According to Grunge, she allowed her music to appear in a documentary about abortion, and she hosted screenings and panels in an attempt to destigmatize the procedure. While some of her statements about feminism were questionable, she spoke out about the need for equality and an expansion of women’s rights.

Whatever you think of the singer’s politics, she was undeniably talented, and her voice defined a generation. It’s time to pour one out, eat some fries, and play a sad song (there are many to choose from in The Cranberries’ repertoire) in honor of this late, great, female singer.

Top photo via YouTube

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