The Cranberries: ‘Everyone Else is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?’ – Still spellbinding after all these years

Fri, Oct 19, 2018, 05:45


Everyone Else is Doing It, So Why Can't We? - 25th Anniversary Edition

The Cranberries



In 1993, Albert Reynolds was elected taoiseach, the beef tribunal finally ended after a gruelling 226 days, Niamh Kavanagh won yet another Eurovision, and a Fianna Fáil and Labour administration decriminalised homosexuality. U2 released Zooropa and brought another mammoth tour production to the RDS, while a Limerick band called The Cranberries quietly put out their debut album. It topped the UK and Irish charts, and stealthily progressed to became a slow-burning, world-conquering phenomenon. By the end of 1995, Everyone Else is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? had sold five million copies in the US alone. 

Of course, things really should be so much different for this release. A quarter of a century under the bridge later, and instead of embarking on a victory lap for its anniversary and priming new material, Dolores O’Riordan is dead. In addition to compiling this box set and unveiling an unreleased song in Irish entitled Íosa, the remaining Cranberries are completing an album featuring vocals from O’Riordan to be released next year.

Written entirely by O’Riordan and guitarist Noel Hogan, and produced by Stephen Street, Everyone Else is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? offered a very distinctly Irish take on guitar-based indie pop in the early 1990s. It inspired a contemporary Californian band called Deafheaven to write a song called The Pecan Tree, which closed their Sunbather album and helped make them become modern metal sensations.

The Cranberries’ influence on modern music still extends far beyond pop and indie rock, and we continue to underestimate just how huge and influential they were in the US.  

Closer to home, they were session darlings for two of the most important tastemakers on these islands, John Peel and Dave Fanning. Pristine versions of Linger, Dreams, and a few others from their respective shows are included. Peel and Fanning were where many Irish and British listeners first heard The Cranberries, but their success greatly eclipsed this early exposure.

Their very first recordings under the brutal moniker The Cranberry Saw Us are included, and a wealth of outtakes and early EP tracks. The Cranberries revisited this era before in 2002 for the release of Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? – The Complete Sessions 1991–1993, but this feels much more definitive. 

O’Riordan’s album title was also a ballsy statement of intent: why shouldn’t a band from Limerick take on the world rather than tip away playing covers at weddings? “Elvis wasn’t always Elvis,” O’Riordan said. “He became Elvis. As did Michael Jackson and so forth. I thought we were born in a random place, and why shouldn’t we be successful as well?”

The Cranberries: Mike Hogan, Dolores O'Riordan, Fergal Lawler and Noel Hogan
The Cranberries: Mike Hogan, Dolores O'Riordan, Fergal Lawler and Noel Hogan

They paved the way for Limerick musicians to be taken seriously. By 2018, the Treaty City has spawned bands as singular and unique as Rusangano Family and The Rubberbandits, plus numerous others. 

Everyone Else is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? captured a fledgling band at their best, refreshingly free of the bombast, bluster and harshness of some of their later work, and weaving soft and subtle sonic spells. Of course, The Cranberries achieved so much more after their debut, with No Need to Argue in 1994 selling millions more copies.

This re-release serves as a timely and tragic reminder that for all the acclaim about Stephen Street’s production and Noel Hogan’s fretwork, their unique selling point was always O’Riordan’s unmistakable yodel. Everyone Else is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? remains a remarkable debut album. Dolores O’Riordan is dead. Long live Dolores O’Riordan.