It seems to be a tradition that I post this every year on St. Patrick’s Day. This is the third year I’ve posted it and I still wouldn’t change a word.
“Zombie” by The Cranberries
(Words/Music: Dolores O’Riordan, Album: No Need To Argue, Island Records 1992)
St. Patrick’s Day is a day to celebrate all things Irish. Everyone wears green, eats corned beef and cabbage, and drinks green beer. They say silly inane things like “Kiss me I’m Irish” and “Top o’ the mornin’ to ya” without really thinking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for celebrating cultural diversity but celebrating Irish culture with beer is like celebrating Canadian culture by watching a video of hockey fights. It doesn’t point to the positive cultural contributions made by the country, the shared heritage of the people, or the struggles they continue to go through. If we really wanted to celebrate Irish heritage, we could contribute the money we would have spent on Guinness and Jameson to relief organizations still trying to rebuild and educate Ireland. At the very least, we should spend the day reading Yeats and Joyce and listening to U2 and The Pogues. And The Cranberries.
Dolores O’Riordan shocked everyone when The Cranberries came out bynot being political, but instead presenting the soft and soothing mellow rock of “Dreams” and “Linger.” Then she shocked them again on the second album by being political. It’s as though she lulled us into a false sense of security and showed us what was capable in a peaceful Ireland before smacking us awake again with “Zombie” to remind us that Ireland still has its share of problems and upheavals. She brings up the current visions of suffering mothers and children and the horrors of the present and connects them to the horrors of the past: “It’s the same old theme/ Since 1916” (a reference to the Easter Rising in which Irish Republicans tried overthrowing British rule, unsuccessfully). In addition to the haunting lyrics of the song, the video for “Zombie” contains images of British soldiers perpetrating violence on the children in Northern Ireland. With the lyrics and images of “Zombie”, The Cranberries showed the world that growing up in Ireland wasn’t all shamrocks and leprechauns.