HMV Review September 2002
Drawing together the best of the Cranberries' four multi-platinum selling albums - 'Everybody Else Is Doing It So Why Can't We', 'No Need To Argue', 'To The Faithful Departed', 'Bury The Hatchet' - 'Stars - The Best Of The Cranberries 1992-2002' provides the first truly comprehensive anthology of one of the finest bands ever to emerge from the Emerald Isle. All the hits are here - 'Linger', 'Dreams', 'Zombie', 'Ode To My Family', 'Salvation', and many, many more - plus two previously unreleased recordings, 'New New York' and 'Stars'.
Stars draws together, chronologically, the Cranberries' very best work. Their worldwide hit debut album is represented by the soft Celtic lilt of "Linger" and "Dreams". The follow-up, No Need to Argue, contributes five tracks, including the grungy "Zombie", while the anti-drug treatise "Salvation" and the street-corner-style "When You're Gone" appear from To the Faithful Departed, along with "Hollywood" and "Free to Decide". Both 1999's Bury the Hatchet and 2001's Wake Up and Smell the Coffee feature strongly as well, the latter being marked by the new-found contentment of the band's hitherto spiky vocalist Dolores O'Riordan.
ALL MUSIC GUIDE
For the Cranberries, assembling a best-of covering the first decade of their career means compiling their singles in chronological order, which turns out to be a foolproof approach for a band that can be uneven over the course of a full-length album but has always managed to express itself well on the two-to-four catchiest cuts. ("Hollywood" and "You & Me" were not singles chosen for release as such by the band, but they were put out in individual territories.) From "Dreams" and the breakthrough hit "Linger" to the sometimes harder-rocking and more political efforts such as "Zombie" and "Free to Decide," and on to more melodic songs later on, the singles (presented here in some cases in single versions or new edits to fit everything in) make a case for the Cranberries as one of the major international rock bands of the '90s. Also included is one album cut, "Daffodil Lament" from "No Need to Argue" said to have been an overwhelming fan choice as the one non-single inclusion, and two new songs, "New New York" and "Stars." "New New York," in which lead singer and songwriter Dolores O' Riordan takes on the September 11 terrorist attacks, is a bit heavy-handed, as O' Riordan confesses that the subject is beyond her ("There's nothing to say") before settling for the anthemic statement, "They won't tear us apart." Much better is "Stars," one of the band's more pop-sounding efforts. But the inclusion of the two songs is appropriate, as it shows the Cranberries continuing to pursue two tracks in their music, one a harder-edged, more political side, the other softer and more romantic. (4.5/5 stars)
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