Noel: "'Dreams' was one of the early ones, as well. It's probably, I don't know, maybe about the fourth or fifth song. It's hard to remember, cause it's like five years ago, but it was one of the early songs. Again it was just a very simple tune that we came up with and it just kind of came together really quick."


Dolores: "It was, uh, written on a Sunday." The song was released as a promo single in the USA, around 1993 (info taken from


Dolores: "Sometimes it takes you a long time to realize that you have a lot of beauty in yourself. And I think at that stage I realized that I had beauty in myself, even though I wasn't like a supermodel or anything like that, but I think that every woman has beauty in herself, and sometimes they have problems seeing it in themselves. I think it was kinda written at that stage when I saw it in myself, and I saw it in other women that didn't see it in themselves. And it was kind of a song that states that every woman is pretty for what she has and what she is."  

("You're so pretty/ the way you are")

Waltzing Back

Noel: "At the time it was probably the heaviest song that we had done to that point, and it was kind of totally different from everything else that we had done, so we were all mad about it. I think it's probably the only song that we've done in every gig that we've ever done. We've played 'Waltzing Back' at every gig because it's just one that we really, really like."

Not Sorry

Dolores: "I wrote that one after our first album was tossed over by the british press and stuff and the British press started to laugh at us and, we had some major, major problems, and it ended up kind of affecting me personally."

"I meant this back when I wrote this song 1 1/2 yrs ago and I still mean it, I'm not sorry, I'm not sorry, I'm not sorry."  

("But you're so selfish you don't see what you're doing to me/ I keep on looking through the window again/ No, I'm not sorry if I insult you)


This song reflects the relationship Dolores had with a soldier and the bitterness that remained after he left her.

Dolores: "I only kissed him twice. But the song was nothing to do with him, it was about me and the way I reacted to infatuation”

Mike: "It was our first song that we ever wrote together. The first time that we ever met Dolores, like, Noel had the chords to it and he had the song done, and he gave it to Dolores and within a week, like, we had the song wrote. So it was actually really good, that that was the song that actually made us, like, was really the first one, so that was cool."

Put Me Down

Dolores: "There was one particular dark shadow in my life trying to put me down."

("And you always prove me wrong/ 'Cos you're always putting me down")




Ode To My Family

Dolores: "Ya know I spent a long time trying to get out of the home, and get away from that whole parent scenario and be a rebel and stuff. And I did kinda, ya know, run away from home and all that type of thing... against my mother's will and everything... And I think at that point I realized that I really missed them all ya know... I realized how good it was."

I Can't Be With You

Fergal: "'I Can't Be With You'... it's more of a pop-y kind of song. The message in it is like loneliness when you're on tour and stuff, missing people at home, so I can definitely relate to that."

("Lying in my bed again/ And I cry 'cos you're not here/ Crying in my head again/ And I know that it's not clear", "But it's bad and it's mad/ And it's making me sad/ Because I can't be with you")


Dolores: "'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."  

"Zombie was written on the Cranberries English Tour 1993 about Man's inhumanity to man and worse still, to child"

The Icicle Melts

A song about the murder of a child called Jamie Bulger, he was murdered by two other children.

Dolores: "I don't know what's happening to people today/ When a child can be taken away "). "I love children," she affirms. "You know, kids, they're so innocent, and so afraid, and they're the future of the world. How can people harm them ?"

"I think if those two kids knew that the penalty for that was being hung by the neck, I don't think they'd have done it. I think hanging should be brought back for murder. I know it sounds sick and everything, but I do."

"If they'd known beforehand, though...I still think the penalties are too nice. One of my brothers is a prison officer. I know, personally, people who have gone: 'I just got out of prison yesterday and I'm bored, I've got no money, I'm gonna steal a car and go straight back in.' Some people like it in there. What happened to the days of being thrown into the cell and being starved and beaten every day? At least make them bleed."

Fergal: "'The Icicle Melts' is a sad song. You can really feel the sadness in it when you listen to it."  

("I should not have read the paper today/ 'Cause a child, child he was taken away/ There's a place for the baby that died/ And there's time for the mother who cried/ And she will hold him in her arm sometime/ 'Cause nine months is too long")

Dreaming My Dreams

Dolores: “Dreaming my dreams was written on December 25th 1993, Where I found happiness. Dedicated to my husband, lover, best friend, support. What more can be said?”

Fergal: "'Dreaming My Dreams' I think is cool. It's like something you would sing to your child before going to bed."  

("I'll be dreaming my dreams with you/ And there's no other place/ That I'd lay down my face/ I'll be dreaming my dreams with you")

Yeats’ Grave

Dolores: "A tribute to Yeats. W. B. Yeats, he was a poet and playwright." 

"This song was inspired by the following poems by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) The Lake Isle of Innisfree and No Second Troy."

Daffodil Lament

Fergal: "I think 'Daffodil Lament' is kind of an epic or something, because it's really a long song; it's all different moods and stuff."  

This song is about carrying on after a relationship that failed 

("I have decided to leave you forever/ I have decided to start things from here/ Thunder and lightning won't change what I'm feeling/ And the daffodils look lovely today")

Twenty One

Dolores: “Twenty One was written on September 6th 1992” (note that this is the exact date Dolores became 21 years old!)

Dolores: “Written on making a clear decision, no more struggle inside..."

("But it won't get any harder/ And I hope you'll find your way again/ And it won't get any higher/ And it all boils down to what you did then")





Noel: "'Hollywood' is a song about fantasies. You have all these dreams and all these posters in your bedroom, but at the end of the day it's down to you, your life, and how good you make it."  

(“the greatest irony of all, shoot the wall/ it’s not so glamorous at all”)

Dolores: "The grass is always greener on the other side, but when you get there you want to go back to where you came from....maybe"


Dolores: "The first single, 'Salvation,' is kind of a satire. It's about the whole drug thing. Drugs are lovely. You get out of your head and all of that stuff, but then where do you draw the line? And it's [about] the parents who want to tie their kids up to keep them in. It's a joking, light-hearted song about a really serious topic." Just say no to drugs! 

(“Inject your soul with liberty, it’s free, it’s free”)

When You're Gone

Dolores: "'When You're Gone' is a really nice love song about missing someone and maybe not appreciating them fully until they've left."  

(“And in the night, I could be helpless/ I could be lonely, sleeping without you/ And in the day everything's complex/ There's nothing simple, when I'm not around you”)

Free To Decide

Dolores: "I wrote the song 'Free to Decide' when I came to a major decision that I would not let what had happened to me get my life out of control, that I would keep my feet on the ground, that I wouldn't turn into a junkie and kill myself. [When] you start to see things like the sea and plants, you come down to earth again and realize it's a beautiful world we live in. And then you have to go back on the road, and it's like, S**t, I was just getting into being a normal person and smelling flowers and all that crap. And now I have to go back on tour and be a superstar."  

(“So to hell with what you're thinking/ And to hell with your narrow mind/ You're so distracted from the real thing/ You should leave your life behind”)

War Child

The song was originally written for the “War Child” charity organization, but the organization never happened so the song is in “To The Faithful Departed” album.

Dolores: "I love children and I received a letter from Brian Eno who asked me to design something for the 'War Child' Fashion Show which he was involved in. Due to my schedule at the time, that didn't happen, but I was moved by Bosnia and that morning, in my hotel room, I wrote the song in about 10 minutes. Children suffer most of all, whether it's Bosnia or the bogside. It's sick -- they're so vulnerable."  

(“War child/ Victim of political pride”)  

The Rebels

A song about the memories of the teenage life that has now gone forever! 

("Seems like yesterday we were sixteen/ We were the rebels of the rebel scene/ We wore Doc Martens in the sun/ Drinking vintage cider, having fun")

I Just Shot John Lennon

Dolores: "I was reading a book about John Lennon's life. I could relate to the fact that when you're a famous person everybody wants to tell you what you should do and who you should be with. Everybody judges you all of the time. I always thought that people judged his relationship with Yoko a little too much, that obviously the man was in love with the woman, and [people] should have left him alone."

Fergal: "For the gunshots at the end of 'I Just Shot John Lennon' we tried to figure out how many times he got shot. I don't think anyone found out so we just guessed at around five."

Electric Blue

Dolores: "In the song I'm kind of thinking that maybe Somebody sent my husband to protect me." 

(“Always be near me, guardian angel/ Always be near me, there's no fear”)


A song about the death of Dolores’ beloved grandfather in 1991. 

(“You made me feel fine, we did it my way/ I sat on your knees, every Friday/ We walked in fields of golden hay/ I still recall you/ We walked in fields of golden hay/ I see you in the summer”)


An elegy to Denny Cordell, who helped the band sign with Island Records in 1991. Cordell died during the summer of 1994. 

(“Your lover and baby will cry/ But you presence will always remain/ Is this how it was meant to be?/ You meant something more to me/ That what many people will see”)

Will You Remember?

Dolores trip to memory and what images and memories of her, the ex-lover will take with him. Another interpretation has to do with Dolores' memory of her wedding day.

(“Will you remember the flowers in my hand?/  Will you remember my hair?/ Will you remember the future we planned?/ The world is not waiting out there”)


A song about the war in Bosnia and how children become the victims of war, it’s so unfair! 

(“And we all sing songs in our room/ Serajevo erects another tomb”)





"Promises" was written about divorce. 

(“So much for your eternal vows/ Well, it does not matter anyway”)


Dolores' inspiration behind the lyrics for "Delilah" is a bar incident in which a lady was expressing romantic interest in Dolores's husband which resulted in a small physical fight between Dolores and the lady. 

(“Stay away from me/ Just stay away from my house/ Stay away from me/Stay away or I'll sort you out”)


This song was released as a promo single in Spain, around 2000 (info taken from A song about the way media and masses follow fashion and music in a mindless and pathetic way...

(“ A lack of originality couldn't focus on the day/ So much for the radio everybody sounds the same/ Everybody wears the same clothes now and everybody plays the game”)

Fee Fi Fo

A song about child abuse, and the brutality of the rape of a child...

(“ How could you touch something/ So innocent and pure/ Obscure/ How could you get satisfaction from the body of a child/ You're vile, sick”)

Desperate Andy

Dolores: “It's about sometimes in life, we see people, and we depict a character based on the visual aspect. There are plenty of large, threatening looking men who under the surface are gentle people.” 

(“The world is your oyster now/ So go out and get laid and get whatever you want to”)

Animal Instinct, You And Me

Dolores: “obviously about my new kinda found love”...talking about motherhood, her first son Taylor and the gift of life!” 

(You And Me: “You revealed a world to me and I would never be/ Dwelling in such happiness, your gift of purity”)

Dolores for Animal Instinct: “"Every day when I have my regular cup of tea I start thinking, and that's how this song popped into my mind." Dolores wrote this song while she was pregnant with Taylor and was scared!

(“Suddenly something has happened to me/ As I was having my cup of tea/ Suddenly I was feeling depressed/ I was utterly and totally stressed”)

Just My Imagination

A song about the joy during the childhood years or during the living of a great love, worries are absent...freedom is the word! 

(“There was a game we used to play/ We would hit the town on Friday night/ And stay in bed until Sunday/ We used to be so free/ We were living for the love we had and/ Living not for reality”)

Loud and Clear

A song about the British Press...

Saving Grace

Another song that was written while Dolores was pregnant...

("It could happen here today/ And I can't wait to see your face", "You're the little thing, my saving grace/ You're just a little thing, my saving grace")

Dying in the Sun

A bitter song about the band's most weak era during "To the faithful departed" album, when the band was so tired of fame, stardom and the pressure of media 

("How could I let things/ Get to me so bad?/ How did I let things get to me?)




Never Grow Old, Analyse

Songs about appreciating life's simple joys, and not trouble yourself with trivial things and overanalyse them, because life is ephemeral and one should taste each moment to the fullest! These two songs enclose the struggle between head and heart.

Dolores: "These songs say 'don't stress worrying about tomorrow, next week, next year, when there's so much beauty around'"

Dolores on Never Grow Old: “Things like just going out and lying in grass and looking at clouds, and making shapes out of the clouds in my head. I know it sounds terrible, but in [Wake Up and Smell the Coffee's] "Never Grow Old," the lyric, "Birds In the sky/ They look so high" is from a personal experience. I was walking along a countryside road with my children in a pram. My little girl was asleep and my son was holding on. I was looking at them, and I was thinking, 'God, this moment's perfect. I hope it never goes.' As I was looking at my kids I had a flash, and I became my mother and my daughter became me. I suddenly thought, 'Jeez, I'm moving a generation here... aah.' I got scared. It was like, 'I'm not a child anymore.' But as I was thinking about my childhood, I remember that when I was in the pram I used to look up. I started looking up at the sky and the birds were flying around. I thought, 'Those birds look really high.' They just perch somewhere, have a little bit of a crap, fly off, perch somewhere else and eat a worm, so carefree. I thought, 'Birds have a great life. There's no stress.' Sometimes when I'm feeling stressed, I look at birds. It helps. My children opened the doors and took me back into my childhood for a few minutes, and that's a great thing. So many adults are always trying to return to that beautiful naivety and that freedom. It's almost an out-of-this-world kind of experience, where you'll have a flash from your childhood.  

"There was a point in the last year or so when I finally saw the beauty I had been blind to for so long"

(Never Grow Old: “Birds in the sky, they look so high/ This is my perfect day/ I feel the breeze, I feel at ease/ It is my perfect day”)

Dolores on Analyse: “I found my first pregnancy was definitely harder than my second 'cause I started analyzing what I should and shouldn't be doing. It's like your first relationship. You're paranoid, but when you stop analyzing things and just follow your heart, you really enjoy everything more. It's something you learn with a little bit of experience. I'm glad that I've come to that conclusion now, because it means that I've started to enjoy life like I've never done before.”

(Analyse: “Don't analyse, don't analyse/ Don't go that way, don't live that way/ That would paralyse your evolution”)

Time Is Ticking Out

Dolores: “"I had just given birth to my second child, a beautiful healthy little girl. It was at this time that I read an article in an paper which featured The Chernobyl Children's Project and showed pictures of these kids that are still being born with so many illnesses. I had spoken briefly with Ali on the subject before this, but I was so moved, almost to tears, that I wrote 'Time Is Ticking Out.' It was inspired by the children and I hope I can raise awareness on this issue. It shouldn't be like this - we must do something about it.”

The Cranberries showing again their political and social side for issues like the nuclear bombs and how the world’s countdown starts with our own hands! 

(“What about our children then/ Is there nothing left for them/ We don't know, we don't know/ For me love is all”)

The Concept

A song that is also known as "The Concept Of Love" in the Japanese version of the album. A love song...spoken words of tenderness and intimacy by Dolores probably to her husband. 

(“Take life between us, live it like we choose/ They'll never see us, I will hear you call/ Hold on to the concept of love, always, darling”)

Wake Up And Smell The Coffee

The ephemeral side of life and how thinking of today and taking chances today can change the meaning and your view of life. 

(“She's only got one reason to live, this is your life/ She's only got one message to give, give it tonight”)  

Pretty Eyes

A song written by Dolores, for her daughter Molly...

("Pretty eyes, pretty eyes/ Not a cloud in my day", "I would give everything, just to take all your pain/ Just to take all your pain")

Dying Inside

This song describes the steady corruption of a soul.

("The lady loved her gold/ The lady lost her soul")

Every Morning

According to, this song was written on Dolores' 29th birthday in 2000. Time passes, time is our enemy, beauty and youth decay through time, but it’s in our hands to handle time in our own terms to achieve moments of happiness. 

(“The morning sun is in my eyes/ It doesn't hide the lines/ It does not bare a great disguise/ Happy birthday baby, happy birthday/ Every morning, every morning in time/ We're doing fine”)

Carry On

Life is full of ups and downs, we should never give up and stop believing in the vitality and energy of the life force...but carry on instead, coz there is so much beauty around!

(We'll have a glass of wine or a cigarette/ Take destiny by the hand and lead it far away/ Take it to another land, we will all decay/ Carry on, carry on, carry on/ The sun will always shine/ Carry on, carry on, carry on/ We'll have a glass of wine or a cigarette”)

Chocolate Brown

Well, there’s a funny story behind that sensitive song. Stephen Street, the producer of the album, had told Dolores that they are going to make the vocals of the song on Friday, but Dolores misunderstood it and thought that on Friday they’re going to record only the musical part of the song. So, it’s Thursday and Dolores goes to a bar, where she drinks, dances  and stays awake till the morning at the bar. The next day, Friday morning, she is terrified to know that she has to make the vocals of the song, she thinks she cannot do it, but Stephen calms her down. Dolores sings the song and everything is fine, her voice is tender, fresh and true as the song requires.  

The song is written for Dolores' son Taylor, and how Dolores felt bad that she couldn't play one day with him 

("But you're so young and you don't get me now/ I feel so guilty and you are Chocolate Brown/ Chocolate Brown, I can't play/ Not too long, I will make it up to you")

In The Ghetto

An old Elvis Presley song covered by The Cranberries and Dolores voice reflects the innocence, warmth and tenderness of a child being born. Being a mother, Dolores feels the sensitivity...The song is the story of a newborn baby in a Chicago ghetto and the agony of the mother of raising it under difficult circumstances. Then the baby boy becomes a man and due to difficulties and hunger is forced to fight or steal

(“And his mother cries/ 'Cause if there's one thing that she don't need/ It's another hungry mouth to feed”)




STARS: THE BEST OF 1992-2002

New New York

This song is about the tragedy on September 11th in New York and the unfair loss of many human lives that were entraped in the Twin Towers ("I look across these city streets/ My heart is numb, it still beats/ Nothing to say). No matter how unbearable is this tragedy, the song gives a sense of hope and the theme of time which can heal the scars and promise a new beginning ("New New York Skyline/ Wounds may heal in time/ Don't crumble don't dismay/ It's a new New York Today). But a fact is a fact and nothing can change the pain for the heroes that died that day in New York 

Dolores: "I didn't see it just after the Towers were brought down, instead I got there for the first time in May 2002, when the pain inside the hearts had already changed into the wish of rebirth. Everything is in that song that I think about the new New York: pain that generates energy"

("I get on my knees and pray/ For the heroes of the day/ And no comfort I can find/ For the loved ones left behind).


Dolores: "I was actually walking in Kilmallock at my home ... you know what I'm saying about kids, how they put a challenge back in your life, well then we [myself and Don] have these mindless tiffs about nothing, when you have kids right, because you're always so busy, like, 'Hi,' when you're passing in the corridor, 'How are you?'. So it was one of those tiffs, like, and I went out of the house all hot and puffy and mad and stuff. And I took my daughter in the pram to the studio -- we have a studio near the house where the band rehearses -- so I was walking over to the studio and I was in a temper," she admitted. "And then I thought, maybe it's me, and then I was thinking about my book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus or something that I read. I thought, maybe it's me and maybe I need to chill, right? So I wrote it kinda thinking that maybe I'm not so perfect, maybe ... I should give a little bit, maybe it's not me."

She continued, "And I was thinking as well, that's the problem, people are married for years and years and years and you get to know each other on different levels when you become parents and all that stuff, right? But the thing is to remember who you fell in love with and not to try to change the person. That's what they say in books, right? And that's one of the most important keys to success in marriage, I think, if you can do it. Anyway, I wrote the song there with those thoughts in mind... and then at the end I say, does anyone love the way they are though? Is anyone perfect? I mean, do you look in the mirror and say, 'God, I'm so perfect'? You don't really, you know."

Fergal: "Remember who you're talking about now, he probably does!" Fergal quipped at Don

("I love you just the way you are")

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