#152 – Linger


Artist – The Cranberries
Album – Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?
Year – 1993
Genre – Alternative Rock

Every time this song has come around on my listening radar, I’ve sworn I’m going to put it on the blog…and then I promptly forget. Well no more! Here is The Cranberries’ “Linger,” in all it’s 90’s ballad glory! First off, a quick shoutout to this album title. I think it’s clever and has a lot to say on its own. Anyways, now to the song.

To me, the most beautiful part of the song is the opening 30 seconds. The sharp strings and gentle, clean guitar sound mixed with frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan’s soothing and beautiful humming gives me chills every time I hear it. The melody and her voice are so passionate and they perfectly reflect the romantic and haunting nature of the song. It’s an expression of the feeling the song exudes, and that’s a unique and powerful way to open.

The driving drum beat keeps the song on track from start to finish, but it’s not overbearing by any means. In fact it has a rhythmic, gentle sound that fits like a glove. The strings in this song were a great choice, and again, it keeps to that supremely romantic atmosphere, even though the song is, ironically, quite heartbreaking.

O’Riordan’s voice is breathy and soft at first. It has this angelic quality about it that surrounds and envelops you. It’s simply lovely to hear. As each verse opens and closes, her voice swells and it’s a constant build up that pulls you toward the inevitable chorus. All the while, the band makes excellent choices for the song, including that clean guitar tone that I love so much.

The chorus is where the whole song just hits you right in the heart. The melody is catchy and bombastic, and the drums crash and the strings swell. O’Riordan lets it all out both vocally and emotionally. The harmonies and choral background add great texture, and the ending of “Do you have to let it linger” will stick in your head for a long, long time. This is also the point in the song where most people say “Oh yeah! This song! I remember this!”

The second and third verse are a bit special in my mind because the songwriting is so good at these points. Though the song sounds like a love song, and it is (kind of), it’s more about the pain of seeing someone you’ve loved and lost with someone else. It’s those “lingering” feelings of regret, pain, and that sense of attachment you still feel long after the relationship has ended. So I guess you could say that it’s more of a “lost love” song. But the lyricism in the last two verses is very well composed, and I’d like to share those with you because I truly think they capture the essence of those feelings that the band is trying to express:

Oh, I thought the world of you.
I thought nothing could go wrong,
But I was wrong. I was wrong.
If you, if you could get by, trying not to lie,
Things wouldn’t be so confused and I wouldn’t feel so used,
But you always really knew, I just wanna be with you.

The ending third of the song reiterates the chorus, with each time being better than the last. There’s a cool guitar bridge that uses some cool slide effects, but the star is O’Riordan again with her incredible use of voice. Every time she sings

And I’m in so deep. You know I’m such a fool for you

it hits you hard. That’s the power of her singing. Not only is it hooky, but it’s heartbreaking and powerful. By the end, with that same guitar strumming fading out, you’re left with that same sense of melancholy the band throws into this legendary ballad.

This song will always hold a special place for me, and I really enjoy it. I hope you all do too. It’s an incredibly moving song that backs up its words with a stellar performance on all fronts.

Thanks for reading, as always! Be sure to let me know what you thought of the song and review in the comments, and share the song if you liked it!

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