Jonny the Friendly Lawyer recently offered up Somewhere Around Midnight by Airborne Toxic Event as a song which makes for a great short story. He cited his own experience around the messy end of a relationship but still seeing his ex around NYC as he went about trying to rebuild his life, and how the lyrics from the song captured exactly what it felt like – the actual physical discomfort caused by heartbreak.

It got me thinking that Linger by The Cranberries covers similar ground in that it deals with a messy relationship and heartbreak.

I swore, I swore I would be true
And honey so did you
So why were you holding her hand?
Is that the way we stand?
Were you lying all the time?
Was it just a game to you?

The difference of course is that Somewhere Around Midnight is set at a time after the relationship has ended, with the protagonist unable yet to some to terms with it.  Linger is set at the horrific moment in time when the protagonist has just discovered that the relationship is doomed, and has just been hit hard with the realisation that they had been taken for a fool for a considerable amount of time.   One particular reviewer, Amanda Petrusich of The New Yorker, really nailed it by describing Linger as “a hazy, sentimental song about realising that you’re on the bummer end of a lopsided relationship”. 

I reckon most of us will likely have been there at some point in time, although in my case it was almost 40 years ago!

mp3: The Cranberries – Linger

I think it is one of the saddest songs ever written, with absolutely no sign of defiance on show, but this is more than made up for with one of the two tracks that can be found on the b-side of the 12″ single:-

mp3: The Cranberries – How (Radical Mix)

Never before, never again
You will ignore, I will pretend

Linger was a flop when first released in February 1993, but it went Top 20 a full twelve months later when it was re-released a full year later.  Similar belated success came the way of debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, which finally reached #1 in the UK some 86 weeks after it was first released. The original version of How is one of the really outstanding tracks on said debut, but the b-side of both the 7″ and 12″ version of Linger could only be found on those pieces of vinyl until the album was given the re-released extended treatment in 2002:-

mp3: The Cranberries – Reason

It’s an excellent two minutes of pop music, and the fact it could be relegated to the status of a b-side demonstrates how many good songs the band had at the outset.



The Cranberries haven’t ever featured much on this or the old blog, mainly as they were a band who I thought released a couple of very good singles and then didn’t really do too much for me. There were obviously a lot of words said yesterday in the mainstream media as well as social media about the death of lead singer, Dolores O’Riordan, at the young age of 46.

One particular Facebook posting from a friend of mine called Robert caught my attention for the lovely way he expressed his thoughts about someone who only fleetingly had an impact on him as a music fan. It really resonated with me, as I’m sure it will with most of you, as we’ve all had songs that have done the same to us at some point in time but nothing else from a singer or band ever had an impact.

For a few months in late 92 early 93 the Cranberries were my special band, they were a band that only I knew. I had been introduced to them by a friend who is long since gone who advised that they were a cross between The Sundays and The Cocteau Twins.

I heard the first single they released and tried unsuccessfully to buy it, I managed to order, through a local record shop, their second “Linger” which to my ears sounded like a heart breaking. Having ordered it I remember it took forever to arrive and when finally it did arrive I must have listened to it a hundred or more times in those first few days. It’s a song that made me sad, emotional and somehow maudlin for no real reason.

They toured with Suede and by the time their debut album came out I had moved on, I never even heard their debut record. They didn’t ever capture me again. In 94 Linger was re-released and everyone knew them, the time had passed. I know very little of their catalogue and never really liked anything else they made but for a few months in 93 they were special.

To me there singer always seemed troubled and never quite happy, I was initially surprised to read about her passing but it didn’t last long. I hope she is happy now. RIP Dolores.

I’ve thanked Robert for allowing me to put this up today…and it’s a reminder that this really was a lovely 45:-

mp3 : The Cranberries – Linger