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Song interpretations


Album #5: Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
Label: MCA Records
Publisher: Universal Music Publishing, Ltd., London
Studio: Windmill Lane, Dublin, Ireland
Release: October, 3 2001
Producer: Stephen Street
Sales: 1,300,000 of copies (by 2002, today around 2 million.)



The recording of the album began in spring and summer of 2000 when the band was touring Europe with concerts.

The work in studio started on August, 20 of 2000 in Dublin, Ireland. The Cranberries chose Stephen Street to be the producer of the album. Before Stephen had produced the classic Cranberries albums ‘Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?’ (1993) and ‘No Need To Argue’ (1994).

To the moment of the working start in the studio the band already had 8 songs with them. For this time other 2 songs were recorded, one with text unfinished. To the end of September, when the Cranberries left the studio, they already had 10 songs on themselves. Then was the mastering in London (September, 22).

There was also the information about including two old songs in the album. There was a hope it would be the legendary ‘Yesterday’s Gone’, but alas… the “oldie” was the ‘Dying Inside’ song written in 1994. The Cranberries also rejected the two songs from the past, ‘False’ (of 1992) and ‘Nothing Left At All’ (of 1990).

To November of 2000 we knew the names of the three songs: Analyse, Time Is Ticking Out (them both were performed on the MTV Europe Awards Pre-show at Vicar Street, in Dublin) and Down in Capetown, telling about the band’s first voyage to the South Africa in the summer of 2000. Fergal said then that the songs were “different track by track”.

In one of the interview Dolores notes that she is very concerned about the present state of the planet.

The band takes a vacation: Dolores is pregnant with the second child in February, so she can’t work in the studio. The Cranberries plan to return to recording in April or May of 2001.

In January of 2001 Fergal informs that the new album is to be released in October of that year. It’s also known that the ‘Analyse’ song isn’t going to appear in the soundtrack to the ‘Sweet November’ film, as it was planned before (the Cranberries were all for it, but their label was against).

In April the official site informs that the new tour supporting the album will begin in April and continue till the end of the year. The Cranberries plan to visit Asia, Australia, Europe, South and North Africa.

The first single is planned to be broadcasted on the radio in the middle of August.

Dolores informs that “the new songs sound really cool, the real music, I’d say”. :)

In March of 2001, after Dolores’s daughter was born, the Cranberries, apart from Noel, continue working on the album, record some new sketches together with the producer. Stephen Street is satisfied about everything.

On April, 30 the band records the cover for Elvis’s song ‘In The Ghetto’. Before the band performed this song live in March of 1999 for the ‘Radio 1′ British radio channel.

The official site lights the shades a little informing that the ‘Pretty Eyes’ song will be a tender lullaby-like ballad.

Fergal tells the new material turned to be better than they expected.

On May, 24 of 2001 it becomes known that the fifth album is called “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee” after the name of one of the songs.

Dolores: “The album will be named ‘Wake Up and Smell the Coffee’, cause it’s exactly what I’m feeling on this time of my life, and so do the guys. It sounds smashing, it really does! There are songs that just couldn’t be created before. I think that the more wrinkles and grey hairs you’ve got, the more self-assured, wise and positive person you become.”

Dolores: “The album has some fast, sort of punk songs, and also there are some slow and delicate ones.”

Dolores, in a letter on the official site: “I can’t wait to see my children. This is so great! Molly is growing up and becoming more and more gorgeous. Taylor adores her. I am very happy and thankful to God for everything I have. For the last eleven years, touring around the world, I went through so much suffer and sadness. Life is so short, that’s why love and happiness are on the first place. I won’t live without love.”

It also becomes known that the band was not pleased with the promotion of their previous album, so they changed Island Records to MCA Records (a part of the Universal Music Group music corporation).

The fans made a list of the tracks they believed to be included in the album according to different interview. Here are the songs that were known to them at that time: Analyse, Time is Ticking Out, Never Grow Old, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, This is the Day, Dying Inside, Chocolate Brown, I Really Hope, Cape Town, Pretty Eyes, The Concept + two unknown songs. The B-sides: In the Ghetto, remixes + 4 unknown songs.

The mastering of the album finished in London, the sound engineer was Cenzo Townshend. The record was believed to be issued on October, 23 of 2001 in America.

The band is getting prepared to the promo-tour and meets Andy Earl, the photographer they were working with for all their albums. The design of the WUASTC cover was by Storm Thorgerson again who was designing the ‘Bury The Hatchet’ album cover before.

The Cranberries choose Kier McFarlane to make a new ‘Analyse’ video for them. McFarlane worked together with Tom Petty and Janet Jackson. In 1993 he got the MTV Video Music Award for his ‘Mary Jane’s Last Dance’ video.

On a TV show in Mexico Dolores and the band play 6 new songs to the showman. He says that four of them were heavy, and two were calm. Dolores: “It’s our style, there are many things like anger, sadness, happiness, making you write the songs in a very special way.”

The ‘Analyse’ single is rotated on the ‘Edge 102′ radio channel in Toronto, Canada three weeks before its official release. The channel itself didn’t confess how they had managed to grab the single before everybody else. The date of the ‘Analyse’ video premiere also came known – August, 6 of 2001.

The promo-tour starts in August, and the touring itself will begin in January of 2002.

The countries and cities of the tour were confirmed: Los Angeles, Boulder, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York City, Canada.


Interesting Facts

The name of the album “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee” can’t be translated literally, it is actually an idiom for “To finally comprehend something”. It is interesting that the Cranberries use an idiom for a name of their albums for the second time (the previous was called Bury The Hatchet – “Stop fighting”, “Leave the offense behind”).

To the moment of WUASTC release Dolores O’Riordan had given birth to two children and got to the wrong side of thirty. “It’s the age when you understand the true treasures of life more and more precisely. Your life thickens suddenly, and you get to know how to appreciate each moment you live, and how to enjoy it. The new album won’t have many fast punk songs, it has more maturity and confidence,” – as she describes her new work.

Dolores O’Riordan also tells that WUASTC is “an especially jovial album” and speaks about the importance of simple family values, love, etc.

All the money acquired by selling the “Time Is Ticking Out” single were given to the Chernobyl Children’s Project charity.

The album strikes the European chart as a Top-5 hit, gets 1st place in Taiwan and Hong-Kong, 2nd in Mexico, Spain and France, 5th in Singapore, 6th in Switzerland, and in Top-10 in Greece.

The producer was Stephen Street again – the person who produced the first two albums of The Cranberries.


Dolores speaks about WUASTC

Dolores (from the booklet): “This is our fifth album – ‘Wake Up and Smell the Coffee’ – full of contentment. Life is never black and white as it seems to be sometimes… I mean, the falls are always followed by the rises. Since the ‘Bury the Hatchet’ album was released, we did a tour, and I was happily pregnant again and got a gorgeous little daughter. I consider family and friends to be the necessary keys to happiness. Cause it’s just so simple to love (“For me love is all!” – that’s what I want to say). ‘To the Faithful Departed’ was a sad album, and life is too short, so we must enjoy it.”

Dolores: “We proved ourselves that were really relaxed, that we were enjoying working in studio, feeling the energy.”

Dolores: “It happened so that last year I was able to see the beauty of this world that I’d never noticed before. These songs say: “Never care about tomorrow, don’t think about what happens next week or next year. There’s so much beauty around!”.”

Dolores: “This is our most optimistic and lyrical album.”



Never Grow Old
• Dolores, about ‘Never Grow Old’: “There are things that fade away and lay on the grass, take a look at the clouds. I’ve got shapes of these clouds appearing in my head. I know it sounds dreadful, but these words from ‘Never Grow Old’: “Birds In the sky/ They look so high” – they’re all about my life. I was walking along the country road with my kids in a cot. My little girl was sleeping, my son was holding onto me. I was thinking: ‘God it’s a wonderful moment! I really hope it’ll never end.’ As I was looking at my children, I was stunned by realizing: I became my mom, my daughter became me. I suddenly thought ‘God, it’s the shift of generations going on now. Aaaa.’ Suddenly I was so scared. It was like: ‘I’m not a kid anymore.’ But as I was recalling my childhood, I remembered that when I was in the cot I always looked up. And I began to look up at the sky and the birds flying around. I thought that ‘the birds fly really high’. They were climbing somewhere, gathering some pieces of wheat, flying away and sitting somewhere else, eating worms, so heedless. I thought: ‘What a brilliant life the birds have, absolutely no worries.’ I always watch the birds when I feel bad. It helps. My children opened the door to childhood and let me in for a few minutes. It was SPLENDID! Many grown-ups try to return to this beauty of naivete and this freedom. It is an experience beyond this reality, when a spark of the childhood from far away glints within you.”
• Dolores tells that Never Grow Old describes the latest times of her life in the best way. “A song about understanding that your life is fine and you don’t want to change anything. You’re that it’s a perfect day of your life and you are very happy. It’s ironic that when the band was really popular and we had some great hits I didn’t feel as good as I do now. I was always stressed then, so defenseless. I understood that being a big star is not for me. I’ve never felt as happy as I feel these days.”

• The first single of WUASTC.
• Dolores: “A beaty song, telling about things you can’t foretell or analyse. When you’re overanalysing things, it may really paralyse your ‘evolution’. It’s very important to listen to your hear and go with the flow.”
• The original name of the song is Don’t Analyse.
• The song was supposed to be included in the soundtrack for the ‘Sweet November’ film before the release of WUASTC, but it didn’t work out.
• A song about the value of simple joy of life, about not having to worry about the trivial things, building connections between them, as life is ethereal and you should just enjoy every moment in every way! The first two songs of the album are based on the conflict of mind and emotion.
• Dolores: “These songs say: “Never care about tomorrow, don’t think about what happens next week or next year. There’s so much beauty around!”
• There are two versions of the video for Analyse. The first one was cut not long before the tragedy of September, 11 of 2001 and included a lot of frames with a flying plane and the skyscrapers. Naturally, the video had to be changed after the events: the second version was free of all the airplane scenes, and the frame with the corpse outline was replaced with a flower drawn in chalk. Dolores considers this video to be the most unfortunate.

Time Is Ticking Out
• The second single of WUASTC. Some percent of the sales was given to the Chernobyl Children’s Project charity.
• Dolores: “I got my second baby recently, a beautiful healthy little girl. But in the same time I read an article about the Chernobyl Children’s project showing the photos of such children, they were born so ill. I was talking to Ali on this topic. I was so worried about it I could cry, that’s how I wrote the song ‘Time is Ticking Out’. It was brought up by my thoughts of the children and a hope I would be able to bring it to other people’s minds. It was like – We have to do something!”
• Dolores: “When you have children, you start to be especially concerned about such problems. You know the ozone layer is thinning, the skin cancer is growing, and you begin to worry about you children, the world they’re going to live in. I understand that humanity needs the products it makes, but why can’t we live without plastic and other unrecyclable shit?”
• The Cranberries showed again the political and social side of the matter, concerning the nuclear weapons and that our future is in our hands.

Dying Inside
• This song of the fifth album of the band was nonetheless written while touring with “No Need To Argue” in 1994-1995.
• The song tells about the human greed and death of soul.

This Is The Day
• The third single of WUASTC.
• The video was cut by Oliver Dahan, the director of Salvation and Promises videos.

The Concept
• The song has another name – The Concept of Love. It’s named this way on the Japanese version of the album. The Concept is probably dedicated to Dolores’s husband.
• A romantic song… The words describing tenderness and the firm connection typical for Dolores and her husband’s relationship. (“Take life between us, live it like we choose/ They’ll never see us, I will hear you call/ Hold on to the concept of love, always, darling”)

Wake Up And Smell The Coffee
• The song was supposed to become the fourth single of the album.
• The ethereal side of life. About how the things you say today and the things that matter today can change the reason of living and your sight at this life. (“She’s only got one reason to live, this is your life/ She’s only got one message to give, give it tonight”)
• Dolores wrote WUASTC for her daughter, she said on the concert in Stockhold: “I wrote this song for my little Molly, this world is crazy, you see?”
• “She’s so gorgeous…” line is referred to Molly (Dolores wrote that “she’s so gorgeous” in a few days after the daughter was born on the official site).
• The song is most likely saying that the family values were more important than fame for Dolores at the moment of writing it. The loss of family would have become a worse disaster than loss of popularity.

Pretty Eyes
• Dolores wrote this lullaby for her daughter Molly who was born on January, 27 of 2001. (“Pretty eyes, pretty eyes/ Not a cloud in my day”, “I would give everything, just to take all your pain/ Just to take all your pain”)

Every Morning
• This song was written by Dolores on her 29th birthday in 2000. Time goes, time is our enemy, beauty and youthfulness disappear with time, but we are able to set our own borders to the time, come up to the moments of happiness. (“The morning sun is in my eyes/ It doesn’t hide the lines/ It does not bare a great disguise/ Happy birthday baby, happy birthday/ Every morning, every morning in time/ We’re doing fine”)

Do You Know
• The song was written in 1997 on the sessions in Metalworks Studio in Toronto, Dolores was then pregnant with Taylor.

Carry On
• This is the song about both rises and falls occurring in life. You mustn’t give up, you must carry on believing. Also Dolores said that that ‘Carry On’ is about her friends and relatives who had their problems, including those concerning health.

Chocolate Brown
• There is a funny story connected to this sensitive song. Stephen Street, the producer of the album, told Dolores she would be recording the voice of the song on Friday, but Dolores misunderstood and thought they would only record the instrumental part. So on Thursday Dolores went to a bar where she was drinking and dancing, and the next morning she woke up in the same bar. The day after that, on Friday morning, she realizes with horror that she would have to perform the vocal part and thought she wouldn’t be able to, but Stephen calms her down. Dolores sang the song and it all went perfect, her voice was soft, fresh and truthful, just as the song needed.
• “Chocolate Brown” is what Dolores calls her son Taylor (the boy has dark hair and hazel eyes).
• The song is Dolores’s apology to the son for the fact she wasn’t able to play with his due to the long hours of working. (“But you’re so young and you don’t get me now/ I feel so guilty and you are Chocolate Brown/ Chocolate Brown, I can’t play/ Not too long, I will make it up to you”)

In The Ghetto
• An old song of Elvis Presley performed by The Cranberries. The voice of Dolores is filled with innocence, warmth and tenderness of a newborn child. As a mother, Dolores is incredibly sensitive. The song is about a baby born in a ghetto in Chicago and about his mother’s suffering, being in a financial state so difficult. The child grows up in all this injustice and hunger and is forced to kill and rob. (“And his mother cries/ ‘Cause if there’s one thing that she don’t need/ It’s another hungry mouth to feed”)

Cape Town
• The second name of the song is Down in Capetown.
• This B-side of WUASTC tells about the band’s first voyage to Capetown, South Africa, in the summer of 2000.
• The song was originally in the basic track list of the album, but then it was removed.
• It was the first song to be removed from the main program of WUASTC.

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

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2.02.2010 |
Posted by Dess