A few days ago the news of the death of Dolores O’ Riordan, a very much loved artist especially in her career with The Cranberries. A voice that could be recognized amongst thousands and that always managed to excite, helped also by deep lyrics (often written by Dolores himself) and a musical timbre that made The Cranberries unique. To commemorate this wonderful woman, today we will talk about one of her most famous songs: Zombie.

The IRA attack

Zombie was released as the first single from The Cranberries’ second album. Dolores wrote it in 1993 during the English tour of the Irish band, in memory of two young boys. Jonathan Ball and Tim Parry, who were killed in an IRA attack in Warrington, England. Although many people have sought meanings of political affiliation in Zombie’s lyrics, Dolores has repeatedly stated that the only feeling that this song represents for her is deep sadness and distressing confronting the death of a child.

An extraordinary and terrible hymn of peace

A song that wants to be a hymn to peace. Dolores herself tells:

Zombie was inspired by a child’s death. His life was taken in the arm’s of his mother. She was shopping in London last year, and there was a bomb planted in a rubbish bin in London and he happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and he died. The reason the bomb was planted was because of a political territorial kind of thing that goes on in the North of Ireland and the UK. So the references to 1916 was when a contract was signed, which signed away the 6 counties to England. And it still goes on today: the war, the deaths, and the injustice.

(Dolores O’ Riordan, from Cranberries – The Story Behind The Music)

The music

Zombie’s music blends perfectly with the song’s lyrics. We may say it’s a piece where the two things are almost indistinguishable. Lyrics do not override the melody, and vice versa.  And more, it musically deviates from earlier pieces of The Cranberries.

A grunge, aggressive, angry song, where Dolores’ voice, usually sweet, is expressed with harshness and crudeness, in tune with the words and feelings that it want to evoke.

Have a great journey Dolores.