Global Conflict, The Patriarchy, and Dolores O’Riordan: A Tribute

Global Conflict, The Patriarchy, and Dolores O’Riordan: A Tribute

When I woke up this morning and checked my newsfeed, the first thing that popped up was that the lead singer of the Cranberries, Dolores O’Riordan, had passed away. The world had lost another intoxicatingly beautiful voice far too soon. In addition to being a core part of the early 90’s spike in women lead rock bands, No Need to Argue and Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We produced classics such as “Ode to My Family” and “Linger”. They’re songs that when played today, bring out enough nostalgia to the point where one may briefly consider buying a case of surge and breaking out the dunkaroos to dust off Doom. In addition, she had a severely underrated solo career with jams such as “Tranquilizer” and “When We Were Young”. However, she left us with two gems that are particularly relevant to some of the biggest issues we face in today’s society; war and cis-het male sexual entitlement.

The first one is blatantly obvious. O’Riordan wrote “Zombie” as a response to the internal warring in Ireland while focusing on who it hurt the most: civilian lives. Although that’s the nature of war, the lyrics “But you see, it's not me, It's not my family” still ring loud and clear as the masses continue to ignore international strife because it doesn’t affect their everyday lives unless it’s on their front doorstep. The Syrian Civil War, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mexico’s drug war are all part of a long list of violence that people continue to willfully ignore despite seeing the graphic images in the media. It’s this kind of apathy that leads to more deaths as refugees are turned away- leaving them to fend for themselves if they’re lucky enough to make it out of a violent country with inadequate humanitarian aid to help the innocent; not to mention another generation of children that will be living with mental health repercussions of constant wartime trauma.

With that being said, the other big global problem (aside from that supposedly fake science known as global warming) *drum rolls* is male entitlement and the promotion of rape culture. What the hell does the lead singer of the Cranberries have to do with this? If O’Riordan’s band didn’t already have enough 90’s clout their song, “Away” makes an appearance in Clueless (a movie I’ve seen more than I would care to admit, including this one time as I lay dying and hungover after an extremely long halloweekend) in the cringey ride home with Elton and Cher. For the unenlightened and those whose memory is short circuiting, here’s a clip of the scene.

Although the problem of men abusing power due to a sense of entitlement is truly depicted through the acting, O’Riordan’s track laid the perfect foundation with the soft melody and very directlyrics for the inevitable awkward moment when Cher hops out of the car after Elton’s forced and unwanted advances. Despite being almost 23 years old, that particular scene is stark reminder of these problematic attitudes, especially when you have big name figures like Cosby, Weinstein, and Spacey just now being held accountable; and those that have yet to be *coughs cheetohead 45* regardless of their status.

So Dolores O’Riordan, thank you. Thank you for the classics. Thank you for activism, both explicitly and indirectly. Most importantly though, thank you for letting every melancholy, romantic, 90’s, alt kid go out unafraid to live their “Dreams”.