Dolores O’Riordan

Are You Listening? | Sanctuary
By MIKAEL WOOD  |  July 2, 2007
1.5 1.5 Stars
As the frontwoman of Ireland’s Cranberries, Dolores O’Riordan won a place in alt-rock history for her yodel-streaked vocal stylings, not her penetrating insights. Still, only now is it clear how well her bandmates’ combination of Celtic instrumentation and modern-pop muscle disguised her shallowness. Absent their support on O’Riordan’s first solo album, the greeting-card clichés with which she addresses such fertile topics as romance and motherhood are on full display. As in this excerpt from opener “Ordinary Day,” a tune about her two-year-old daughter, Dakota: “This is the beginning of your day/Life is more intricate than it seems/Always be yourself along the way/Living through the spirit of your dreams.” Yikes. Thanks in part to producer Youth (the same guy who helped mastermind the Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony”), the music on Are You Listening? has its moments; “Apple of My Eye” rides a neat electro-folk groove that suggests a (more) female-friendly Snow Patrol, and O’Riordan still has plenty of her old vocal power. But her wack words are hard to get past. Does she have to let them linger?

Dolores O’Riordan | Avalon, 15 Lansdowne St, Boston | July 9 | 617.931.2000
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