BWW Album Review: Lena Hall's OBSESSED: THE CRANBERRIES is Sumptuously Ethereal
The January 15 news that Dolores O'Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries, had passed was nothing short of devastating for many. With hearts broken all over the world, it's hard to know when releasing a tribute to The Cranberries would be appropriate. With OBSESSED: THE CRANBERRIES, Lena Hall proves that that time is now, and listening to the EP, I'm sure O'Riordan is simultaneously proud of Hall while jamming out to these incredible covers.
In the previous releases in her OBSESSED series, Hall has offered listeners a handful of hits with one or two rarified B-sides. Yet, her stripped down tribute to The Cranberries offers only the four most recognizable songs by the Irish rockers: "Zombie," "Free to Decide," "Salvation," and "Linger."
On each of the four tracks, Hall's signature vocal stylings are perfectly utilized. She knows what she is capable of. She knows that she is not O'Riordan. But, she also knows that her capable instrument can handle the daunting breaks, vocal slides, aggressive and sometimes staccato guttural sounds, and the beautiful melodies with ease. Therefore, Hall makes each tune her own through her cherished vocal abilities deftly maneuvering through the beloved and lauded intricacies of O'Riordan's original versions.
Perhaps one of the best things about The Cranberries is that the musical accompaniment for their music is also a force to be reckoned with on its own. The compositions crafted by O'Riordan (all four tracks) and Noel Hogan ("Salvation" and "Linger") are just as indelible as O'Riordan's iconic vocals. On this EP, Justin Craig and Matt Duncan perfectly recreate the backing music on guitar and keys, giving Hall a lovely tapestry to layer her voice over. Whether strumming out the up-tempo and raucous background to "Salvation" or laying down the plaintive, somber, and heartrending melodies of "Zombie" or "Linger," both Craig and Duncan showcase incredible skill and control.
Hall's OBSESSED: THE CRANBERRIES is sumptuously ethereal and there is no doubt that the entire collection is blessed from the beyond by O'Riordan herself. It's simply too perfect not to be. In fact, listening to the record is such a stirring experience because it actually feels like O'Riordan is speaking directly to her fans through Hall.