For this installment of The Original vs. The Cover, we are tackling the Cranberries song “Zombie and comparing to the cover by Bad Wolves. The song was written by Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries back in 1993 and was released on their 1994 album ‘No Need to Argue’. The Cranberries had pretty good success with the song, but the song was never released as an official single in the U.S. so it never made the Billboard Top 40. The song helped the album go on to sell over 7 million copies in the U.S.
The song was a very big political statement for the band. It was about the IRA bombing in England in 1993 which killed two children, Jonathan Bell and Tim Parry. The band is from Ireland and this hit too close to home for them. For those that don’t know, the IRA is a militant group that has been trying for years to get the British troops removed from Northern Ireland. Dolores wrote the song as an anthem for peace. The song also speaks to the year 1916 which is how long the fighting has been taking place over this issue.
For me, I now look at the song differently. I think the song was also talking about depression. The lyrics do speak of war and fighting and it is obvious what the song is about, but with the lines repeated a lot “in your head / Zombie”, I looked at as the mental anguish the singer was fighting with herself as she did suffer from depression and sadly took her life on January 15th of this year, 2018. Maybe I am trying to read too much into it.
The Cranberries song was a departure for the band sonically. The band was an alternative rock band with some pop flare to them as well. This song was more grunge sounding than anything they had done. It was very dark, angry and Dolores’ delivery of the lyrics made you feel that anger and the pain of losing the children and the heartache the family’s must have felt.