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Song interpretations


Album #4: Bury The Hatchet
Lable: Island Records, New York
Publisher: Island / Universal Music Publishing, Ltd.
Studios: Metal Work Studio (Toronto, Canada, 1997), Windmill Lane (Dublin, Ireland, 1998), Chateau Miraval (Miraval, France, 1998), Townhouse (London, UK, 1998)
Release: April, 19 2002
Producers: Bennedict Fenner and The Cranberries
Sales: 3,300,000 of copies (by 2002, now around 3,5)



So, in 1996 The Cranberries decided to stop their gigantic tour over the world and take some vacation. During this time, Dolores recorded the song ‘God Be With You’ for the soundtrack of the film ‘The Devil’s Own’, and also do a cover for the ‘Go Your Own Way’ song (of the ‘Fleetwood Mac’ band). The Cranberries spend 1997 being apart: the guys are travelling around the world, and Dolores is alone with her husband in Canada.

In the end, at the beginning of 1997 it became known that Dolores was pregnant, and also that the band was still working on new material. Noel writes music in Ireland, sends the recording via mail to Dolores in Canada, where she polishes them perfect and writes the lyrics. That was the way of creation of ‘Animal Instinct’, ‘Copycat’, ‘Shattered’ and ‘Desperate Andy’ after the prolonged break. Dolores sang them with soft and tender voice, and it was planned that the songs would be resinged afterwards, but then The Cranberries decided to leave them as they were: they liked the new sound more. The Cranberries decided that they would be treating show-business with less care now and that they won’t let different mishaps get them.

In September of 1997 the guys fly to Toronto to Dolores (she is somewhere around the 7th month of pregnancy now), where in the ‘Metal Work Studio’ the new songs are written.

Also around that time the members of the band were sent some e-mail messages containing threat from a fan from Germany who wished to become a family member of Dolores. The crazy guy got to prison, and the incident itself became a base for the ‘Such A Shame’ song.

On November, 23 of 1997 Dolores had her first child – the boy who was names Taylor Baxter Burton. It would be him to become Dolores’s new inspiration now, she would dedicate to him such songs as ‘Animal Instinct’, ‘You And Me’, ‘Baby Blues’ and some other from the new album.

At the beginning of 1998 the band gathers in Dublin, Ireland, where they continue working on the album. The producing of the album was laid by the Cranberries on themselves by a half, sharing it with Bennedict Fenner. Fenner had been working with David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Bryan Ino, James, Steve Hacket, INXS, Depeche Mode, U2, and Lory Anderson before. The completion of the album was trusted on Mike Plotnikoff, the Canadian who had been working with ‘To The Faithful Departed’ before.

Rumour had it that the new song ‘What’s On My Mind’ would appear on the soundtrack of the ‘X-Files’ movie, but alas, nothing worked out.

In May, The Cranberries arrive to Miraval (France), where on the ‘Chateau Miraval’ studio they continue working on the album.

Also in May the band performs in Oslo, Norway, on another Nobel Peace Prize Concert. They perform the new ‘Promises’ song (there were rumours that it was supposed to be the name of the new album). The performance of the rock-band a happening this conservative itself shakes the press a little. :)

The clip for ‘Promises’ is cut by Oliver Dahan again, who made the ‘Salvation’ video before.

By the end of 1998 The Cranberries arrive to studio in London, where they finish polishing their new material.

Dolores changes her image: now she has more feminine hair, the long light-brown hair. The guys change style too: they get haircuts. :) ))

In November Dolores and Fergal take participation in the MTV’s Europe Music Awards that took place in Milan. They announce the winner of the ‘Best Song’ category along with two members of the ‘Skunk Anansie’ band.

April, 5th of 1999 – the world premiere of the ‘Promises’ single. It got 13th in the British chart.

The band plans to begin a new tour – ‘Loud and Clear World Tour’. Fergal: “Our tour wasn’t going to be one big travel now. We play some concerts in a country, then we get back home, take a break for a couple of weeks just to be in shape. And then we get back to the concerts for a while. It was a great way.”

Storm Thongerson became a designer for the cover of the upcoming album, one of the most famous designers in the show-business world. Storm designed the covers of the albums for ‘Pink Floyd’ and some other idols and was awarded several times for that before. The photoes of the desert for ‘Bury The Hatchet’ decoration were taken in Arizona, USA.

On April, 19 of 1999 there was the world premiere of the ‘Bury The Hatchet’ album. The name wasn’t chosen by accident: the call for leaving all the offense behind is what Dolores tells to herself and to the journalists who had been attacking the group the time before.

For only the first month of selling the album is sold out in 2 million of copies, and it becomes the number one between the sales through the Internet.

The press’s opinion is more than reserved: the album isn’t praised, but isn’t scolded either. All the criticists noted the changed sound of the band, and more cheerful mood of the songs.

Dolores, who had promised she wouldn’t fight with the journalists any more, still adressed some biting songs to them (Loud And Clear, Copycat, Paparazzi On Mopeds).

The interest to the album is also raised by the fact that it has the song that speaks of the pedophilia problem in modern society (Fee Fi Fo).

Although BTH got some good positions in the European charts (No.1 in France, Germany, Netherlands, Greece, Italy), in USA it is stuck on the 13th position, having just one jump done on the 7th place. Dolores is unhappy about the album’s promotion in America. She said that the American fans had been asking her: “Oh, Dolores, I just love your music, but when do we get the new album released?”. So Dol had to answer: “It’s already released!..” :) )))))))

July, 5th of 1999 – the premiere of the ‘Animal Instinct’ single (the video was cut in the suburbs of Toronto, Canada), in August – of ‘Just My Imagination’.

On December, 9 of 1999 the band plays the marvellous concert in Paris, that will afterwards (in 2000) be released on the DVD ‘Beneath The Skin: Live In Paris’. In 2000, they also release the double CD ‘Bury The Hatchet: The Complete Sessions’, it includes the 14 songs of the original album, 5 b-sides and 7 live versions of the songs from the Parisian concert.


Dolores speaks on what inspired her to create ‘Bury The Hatchet’.

- Noel sent me the records of some songs he had written while I was in Canada, and they were awesome! So the same night, I took a drink and called him, saying I missed him and that he’s an outstanding person. We decided to meet and start working on the new songs.

- The songs of the album aren’t like those you could write touring. There is humor, happiness, seen audacity. Touring is another life: you feel the people pay too much attention to you. It’s not the best place to create songs. When you come home, you’re really relaxed, and you write songs in a human way, and you think that all the human things become closer in the songs.

- Life’s a strange thing. At the end, when you’re lying on the bed of death, you look back and think: “Have I had a happy life?” Was it fun – what should I say? It’s great to have money, but you can’t take it with you. It’s not important. You can’t take the material substance to the grave, but you’ll be able to take the beautiful memories with you. You would pass out with a smile on your face.

- When we gathered and decided to start working together again, we said: “We’ve dug the hatchet in the past – the one that was between us, us and the criticists.” We’d like to learn the lesson out of it all, all we had when we were together.

- We recorded the album in ‘Metalworks’ while I was pregnant. My voice sounded the other way then. The sounds were more distinctive when I was being very big. I thought I wouldn’t be able to song, as I even had trouble breathing; but when I started singing, I felt so right. Later, as I had a boy, I tried to remake the songs, but as I compared them, I knew I couldn’t recreate it.


Fegral and Noel speak on the album

Fergal: “I like ‘Dying In The Sun’. They [the songs] are all wonderful, but Dolores’s voice sounds this great just on this track. She recorded the vocal in only two takes. This is what is called pure feelings.”

Noel: “The name ‘Bury The Hatchet’ is our way to say that everything is behind now. There are things that influenced us a lot. But now is the time to go forward. Time to bury those things down and show we can still do something.”

Noel: “In all, the recording of the album took, like, six months. You can tell we weren’t hasty or something like that. We did it with measure. We consider six months to be a huge amount of time.”

The hidden meaning of some “BTH” songs

Animal Instinct
• The second single of the album.
• In one of the interviews Dolores said that the ‘Animal Instinct’ song was written when she was pregrant the first time, that was the time when she was scared and felt she could kill anyone who’d try to harm her child. She’d never had such mother (animal) instinct before.
• Dolores: “Every day when I have my regular cup of tea I start thinking, and that’s how this song popped into my mind.” Dolores wrote this song while she was pregnant with Taylor and was scared!
• Dolores: “obviously about my new kinda found love”…talking about motherhood, her first son Taylor and the gift of life!”

Loud & Clear
• Another song to describe the complicated relationship between Dolores and the British press that had caused big trouble for the singer in its time.

• The first single of the album.
• The song about divorces. Dolores is worried that the oaths the lovers give before the altar don’t seem to mean anything in the modern world.

Just My Imagination
• The third single of the album.
• The song about the happiness of childhood and the life filled with love, the absence of worrying… Freedom is the world!
• There was time (after ‘To The Faithful Departed’) when Dolores didn’t even want to sing in the shower, she used to stop herself, it was like: “Singing is what became the cause of my depression, and if I do what I did before, I won’t want to sing any more, ever.” In a year, Noel started sending some records to Dolores to Toronto, and she returned to Ireland for a while, where they were rehearsing in her house in Dingle for a month. Then, they decided: “Why don’t we make a demo?”. So they left to Toronto and started recording the songs for the ‘Bury The Hatchet’ album. (“There was a game we used to play/ We would hit the town on Friday night/ And stay in bed until Sunday/ We used to be so free/ We were living for the love we had and/ Living not for reality”)
• A song about the joy during the childhood years or during the living of a great love, worries are absent…freedom is the word!
• Fergal: “During that period (after Faithful Departed) Dolores wouldn’t actually sing in the shower, she’d stop herself singing, it was like, ‘Singing got me into this state, and if that’s what it did I never want to do it again’. It took a long time (for her) to come around and say, ‘You can still do it, but at a slower pace’. After about a year Noel started sending some tapes over to Dolores in Toronto and she came back home to Ireland for a while and we did some rehearsal down in her hourse in Dingle for a month. Then we decided, ‘Why don’t we do some demos?’, so we went over to Toronto and started demoing what eventually became the song on the Bury The Hatchet album.”

You And Me
• The fourth single of the album that was only released in a few countries. The video for the song consisted of the cutscenes from the performance of The Cranberries in Paris, in December of 1999 (see DVD ‘Beneath The Skin Live In Paris’).
• Dolores: “Of course, it’s about the new kind of love.” It says about motherhood, her first son Taylor and the gift of life. (“You revealed a world to me and I would never be/ Dwelling in such happiness, your gift of purity”)
• Dolores: “For me, it’s a song about my little boy. But for some people it can be about someone else. That’s the wonder of music.”
• Fergal: “That and ‘Animal Instinct’ were probably the first songs that Dolores wrote after she had kids, so that was kind of a love song for her son. Parenthood really does ground you a lot. When you come back off tour it takes a few days to adjust being back home, but with kids it’s like, ‘Tough shit, get used to it!’ It brings you back down with a bang. It’s brilliant.”

• The song about Dolores’s first pregrancy (written before Taylor was born) and about it being “the hardest time for her”, she didn’t want to see anybody. According to another version, this song is about the journalists again and about how they pissed Dolores off when she was pregnant. (“Move over, move over…”)

Desperate Andy
• Dolores: “It’s about sometimes in life, we see people, and we depict a character based on the visual aspect. There are plenty of large, threatening looking men who under the surface are gentle people.”
• There is a version that it’s a satiric song dedicated to the photographer of the group, Andy Earl.
• “Desperate Andy” is one of Dolores’s favourite songs of the BTH album.

Saving Grace
• Another song written by Dolores when she was pregnant. (“It could happen here today/ And I can’t wait to see your face”, “You’re the little thing, my saving grace/ You’re just a little thing, my saving grace”)

• This song was released as a promo-single in Spain in 2000.
• The song speaks about the absent-minded copying of someone else’s style, and also about the tasteless fashion dictated by the media.

What’s On My Mind
• The song is probably dedicated to Dolores’s husband.
• Was supposed to be a soundtrack for the ‘X-Files’ movie.

• Dolores wrote the ‘Delilah’ song after the incident in a bar. There was a lady who was trying to flirt with Dolores’s husband, so in the end there was a little fighting between her and Dolores.
• Delilah is a Biblical name, a link to the story of Samson and Delilah.
• “Delilah” is a typical name for women who are bitches. :) ))

Fee Fi Fo
• The song about bad treatment with the children, about the cruel violence upon them.
• There are no words as “fee, fi, fo” in English. Dolores took this phrase from the tale of Jack and the Giant. As Jack was running away from the Giant, he heard that the guy kept saying “fee fi fo fum” following him. This way, the improvised term turned out to mean the bad treatment with the children, mockery of them.
• Dolores: “That song is about child abuse, and when you listen to it, you hear that kind of fear. This child is being abused by a man, and the man is not going away. When I write a song like that, I try to put real feelings and fears that are part of this topic in there. So there’s darkness, which is such a beautiful vulnerability. Then there’s the anger of the person who’s singing the song” child abuse, and the brutality of the rape of a child…

Dying in the Sun
• The song filled with pain, it is dedicated to the period of weakness from the times of ‘To The Faithful Departed’. (“How could I let things/ Get to me so bad?/ How did I let things get to me?)
• This song is specially adored by the drummer of the band, Fergal.

Sorry Son
• In one of the interview Dolores said that ‘Sorry Son’ isn’t about her. The song speaks about the relationship between fathers and sons and Ireland from some years ago, when the traditions in the families were more prudish.

Baby Blues
• After having a baby, many women have mood swings. One minute they feel happy, the next minute they start to cry. They may feel a little depressed, have a hard time concentrating, lose their appetite or find that they can’t sleep well even when the baby is asleep. These symptoms usually start about 3 to 4 days after delivery and may last several days.
• If you’re a new mother and have any of these symptoms, you have what are called the “baby blues.” “The blues” are considered a normal part of early motherhood and usually go away within 10 days after delivery. However, some women have worse symptoms or symptoms last longer. This is called “postpartum depression.”

The Sweetest Thing
• Another song about childhood and about how lucky Dolores is with her husband.

Woman Without Pride
• This can be called one of the most mysterious songs of The Cranberries. Dolores never said who the composition is about, but some fans suppose that the “woman without pride” is Dolores herself.

Such A Shame
• There are some speculations that the song is about the psycho who was following Dolores back in 1997, wishing to be a member of her family.

Paparazzi On Mopeds
• Another accusation song for the journalists. In 1995, on the concert “Pavarotti and Friends” where Dolores sang Ave Maria, she met princess Diana. In two years the princess died in a car accident that was partially caused by the paparazzi who were following her. This sad event inspired Dolores to create the song accusing them.

This stuff was translated from Russian Version of our Site by Michiru.

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2.02.2010 |
Posted by Dess