Cranberries

This was supposed to publish at 6 AM today, not half before midnight. I’ve no idea why it didn’t.

Do you love music? I truly do: the hymns of the church, except most of those written in the last hundred years; chant, but not so much Anglican as Plainsong; and of course Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. But to those who think they know me and think that I care only for the foregoing and Palestrina, William Byrd, and Tomas Victoria I have a confession to make. I am sometimes equally enamored with contemporary music. And while enamored might be the right word for specific pieces, even more than that I stand in constant awe and amazement at the sheer outpouring of creativity from people who write music. As one who has never written an original tune even as simple as “Twinkle, twinkle little star,” I am, as I said, in awe of those who can find ever new ways of arranging those 13 notes into original patterns, and not just any old patterns, but patterns that delight us. My latest, what I almost feel I should call a guilty pleasure is The Cranberries. I’m a new fan and came along long after their breakup in 2003. My first awareness of them was a snippet of one of their pieces “Dreams” in the movie “Where the Boys Are.” It wasn’t even much of a snippet, and I didn’t notice it until I accidentally ordered the movie again from Netflix and heard it again. Then I paid attention to the credits, looked up a few things, and ordered “The Cranberries Gold” from Amazon. I’ve got to tell you I am blown away by the drum work of Fergal Lawler on “Dreams.” I can’t hear it enough. The CD is one of 6 in the CD changer in my car, and I hear it often on the way to work and on the way home. A lot of the cuts don’t do much for me, but of late I’ve noticed another one, “Analyse.” It too features Lawler’s drum work, but I could hardly understand a word the vocalist, Delores O’Riordan, who seems to have written all of their lyrics and is their only vocalist, was singing. So, back to the internet it was to read the lyrics, which I found and not only the lyrics but a blog commenting on them. Here are the basics:

Close your eyes
Close your eyes
Breathe the air out there
We are free, we can be wide open

For you open my eyes
To the beauty I see
We will pray, we will stay
Wide open

Don’t analyse
Don’t analyse
Don’t go that way
Don’t lead that way
That would paralyse your evolution

Analytical as I am I didn’t really see what was being said until I read some of the fan comments in a kind of blog. Here’s a representative sample:

“Definitely one of my favorite songs! It obviously talks about not worrying too much about anything, don’t over-think-it! This song helped me a lot like 6 years ago, I was a depressed child, I thought a lot about death, but this song made me see I only should worry about enjoying the moment and every breath you take!”

and another

“This song is about being happy and have great day, not thinkin on bad things and troubles in our lifes…and that we dont need to analyse, just go on (with a smile on our face) 🙂 very optimistic song … it makes my day better”

and another

“ I feel like I should be running through fields when I hear it.“

“My,” I thought, “how very Anglican.” It reminded me immediately of the very first prayer in the section of additional prayers and thanksgivings in the Book of Common Prayer, “For Joy in God’s Creation,” on page 814, which, so I’ve read, is intentionally placed first because it expresses the very core of Anglican spirituality as summed up in the title.

I’m curious now about whether all of the Cranberries’ songs were of this quasi-religious nature, but I may never satisfy that curiosity. Suffice it to say though that I rejoice that this little band of four talented and creative young people from Ireland were one more voice in the world proclaiming a message of hope and joy to many, tens of thousands probably, who would never read it in the BCP or hear if from a pulpit.

Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Washington DC

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