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Dreams linger ...

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OKLAHOMA CITY – It was exactly five years ago on this date – Jan. 15, 2013 – I wrote a review of the 2012 psychological thriller film Sound of My Voice, directed by Zal Batmanglij and starring Brit Marling as “Maggie,” a time-traveling cult leader in present-day Los Angeles who may or may not be who she claims to be.

It’s an amazing film, dealing with numerous themes, including psychology, faith, identity and more.

As I wrote in my 2013 review of Sound of My Voice:

The small cult soon learns from Maggie that she is a time traveler from the year 2054 and that in her time life is much different. There has been a civil war, strife and lean times. Food is grown at home and, when asked to sing a song from her time by a cult member, Maggie begins to sing the opening lyrics to the 1993 song “Dreams” by the Cranberries.

The Cranberries?!? Yes, that gets one young man named Lam to question Maggie and how she could say a hit in 2054 was a song that would be 60 years old by then. Maggie, flustered, says that it is a popular song in her time but that it was sung by someone else.

Peter and Lorna are now convinced that Maggie is a fraud – and dangerous. The danger comes from one cult member taking Lorna on a hike to a shooting range. Clearly they are preparing for some sort of apocalyptic future.

So, is Maggie the real deal? Is she taken her “chosen” under her wing, to protect them from a future cataclysm? And what of the strange little girl in Peter’s classroom. The one with the red hat that Maggie eventually orders Peter to bring to her?

Sound of My Voice is a pretty powerful film with a twist and eerie realism that you don’t entirely expect.”

Screenshot from cult film Sound of My Voice. (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

I was reminded of that film review today because it was this very day that the lead singer of the Cranberries, Dolores O’Riordan, died quite unexpectedly at the age of 46, according to The Irish Times.

And the song “Dreams”? I remember when I first heard it in the early autumn of 1993 – nearly 25 years ago – really caught my attention, not just for its dreamy jangle, but for Dolores O’Riordan’s striking, Irish-accented singing voice. Alongside fellow Irish singer Sinead O’Connor, O’Riordan was just another example of the amazing female singing talent on the Emerald Isle. And I became an instant fan of the Limerick, Ireland-based band, which, incidentally, was originally known as "The Cranberry Saw Us," a play on "cranberry sauce" and, like it or not, a sync with The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" where during the psychedelic outro the words "I buried Paul" are spoken by John Lennon.

Lennon would later claim he actually said "cranberry sauce." It only added to the rumors that Beatle Paul McCartney was killed in 1966 and replaced by a lookalike.

Cranberries co-founders, brothers Mike and Noel Hogan, saw the benefit of shortening it to simply The Cranberries. A good choice. And for me, a band name in the vein of 60's/70's bands - like The Raspberries. 

And for a while there, The Cranberries were everywhere! And it was the beautiful lead singer, who wore her heart on her sleeve and conveyed real passion ... it was hard to ignore. Plus the Hogan brothers and drummer Fergal Lawler were a crack rock band, transitioning from jangly, poetic pop to harder rock sounds in a jiffy. 

Particularly in light of the fact that I was stocking the shelves at the mall record store where I worked, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with copies of the band’s breakthrough hit album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, which also featured the hit single “Linger.” (O'Riordan appears in the 2006 Adam Sandler film Click, singing "Linger" with an orchestra.).

I was smitten with Dolores O’Riordan. She fronted a really solid rock band that addressed important issues, as the 1994 follow-up album No Need to Argue demonstrated with songs like the hard-rocking “Zombie,” “Ode to My Family,” “Twenty One,” “Yeat’s Grave” and “I Can’t Be With You.”

I was watching some Cranberries videos, including “I Can’t Be With You,” the final single from No Need To Argue, released in the fall of 1995, around the time this photo of me was taken, sporting a cranberry-red Cranberries shirt I got when I was living in Michigan.

The author in 1995. (RDR photo)

In the video, by Samuel Bayer, O’Riordan and the band are dressed in red and O’Riordan is shadowed by an elderly angel who seems to be attempting to fly. What is interesting is I randomly stopped the video to do something, and it stopped on the scene where O'Riordan has her hand held up and the angel is visible behind her. It was as if she was saying good-bye, as the angel waited for her .. 

Still have my cassette copy of No Need to Argue. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

Anyway, The Cranberries song "Dreams" shows up again in sync writing, making an appearance in an October 18, 2013 post titled "Rudderless in my so-called dream (all of these things sank)" where I talk about a 1994 episode of My So-Called Life titled "Guns and Gossip." 

"Not featured on the soundtrack but in this “Guns and Gossip” episode is the late ’93 hit by The Cranberries called “Dreams,” which syncs with a discussion I was just having about the independent film Sound of My Voice about a woman from the future, who comes back to early 21st century Los Angeles and leads a cult. When asked by a cult member to sing a song from her time, in 2054, she begins singing the lyrics to “Dreams.” This is a turning point in the film because when the time traveler starts singing a song that was popular decades before she was born, they start to lose faith. A song about “dreams,” no less …

Interestingly, in my research on the “Guns and Gossip” episode, there is a scene where Angela is cranking up “Dreams” in her bedroom and a writer who analyzed the episode wrote back in 2008: “Incidentally, if sometime in the future your grandchildren ever ask you what 1994 was like, you can just show them that scene. It’s so 1994, that if it wasn’t actually made in the mid-90’s, I would think it was trying too hard to be mid-90’s.”

During the scene where “Dreams” plays in Angela’s room, her mother awkwardly comes in to have a “sex talk.” She flips through a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank.

Which takes us to present day and Angela – Claire Danes – is now on the Showtime show Homeland as troubled CIA analyst Carrie Mathison, an angel, sent by the government, to save innocents.

After all, Mathison (Danes) is racked with guilt that she “missed something” on 9/11 that could have prevented the tragedies. Perhaps an earlier incarnation of a government official felt the same way, knowing they could have prevented President Kennedy’s death in Dallas.

Note the sync/links here. In Sound of My Voice, "Dreams" is said to be a popular song in the year 2054. In the write-up on the "Guns and Gossip" episode of My So-Called Life, the writer notes the "future" when you can point to the Angela Chase (Danes) enjoying a Cranberries song like "Dreams" as being "so mid-90's," as a way of conveying to future generations what that portion of the decade was like. 

Check out my 2012 review of The Cranberries last, proper studio album - Roses - which holds up well, particularly with songs like "Astral Projections," "Show Me" and "Roses," the final track which features the O'Riordan/Hogan-penned lines: "Life is no garden of roses / More like a thistle in time / Sailing passed / Waiting fo rno one is time / Sailing fast ..."

You will be missed Dolores O'Riordan. Rest in peace.

EDITOR'S NOTE: As I noted in my Dec. 8, 2017 post on Irish singer Sinead O'Connor (aka Magda Davitt), I noted how her truth-telling was a bit jarring for some (just as Dolores O'Riordan's bolder, later material became - fewer love songs, more "truth-telling"). I have been worried about O'Connor/Davitt for a while, concerned about her mental health and well-being. According to reports I've seen on Dolores O'Riordan she also had some mental health issues as well, with this UK tabloid noting today: "The lead singer led a tragically troubled life, suffering from anorexia, bipolar disorder and a string of breakdowns as a result of being sexually abused when she was just eight.

In 2014 she told the Belfast Telegraph the abuse left her with a “terrible self-loathing” and admitted that she “tried to overdose” in 2013.

She said: “It manifested itself in my behaviour and the pathologies I began to develop in my early adult life, such as my eating disorder, depression and eventually the breakdowns.

Again, Dolores O'Riordan will be missed. Such an angelic voice and one with so much to say.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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