The Cranberries have always had a place in my rotating list of music.

When I first discovered them, I was living in Exeter, New Hampshire and going to high school. When I first heard the song “Linger” – with Dolores O’Riordan’s ethereal voice singing the bittersweet lyrics – I immediately connected with it, being an emotional and disenfranchised teen boy.

I had been infatuated with a girl in the neighborhood, and at the time, I was consumed by her. No matter what I did, however, it was not meant to be. We were really close in the long run, but it would only ever become a friendship and eventually not even that because time moves on and people change, including me and especially her. For a long time, the song resonated with me in the same way, and when I listened to it – I would become emotional because even though that girl was gone, others came after and the song hit me in different ways each time.

During my first marriage, I decided to interpret the lyrics in a more positive light (similar to how Adam Sandler used the song in the movie Click – where Dolores also made an appearance). I used to tell my wife at the time that the moving music and the more positive aspects of the lyrics reminded me of how my soul felt about her. She hated that, and obviously saw the most negative aspects of the lyrics, which I guess is understandable. I tried to explain to her that it was the “tone” of the song and not the actual lyrics that made me think about her, but I don’t think she ever completely understood what I meant by that.

Now, as I’m in my 30’s – the song is fluid and meaningful in many different ways to me. It represents my past, present, and future love life all at the same time but in different ways. Dolores’ haunting voice and accent, and the genuine emotion she conveys will resonate with me until the end, I think.

And it’s not just “Linger” that has been with me during my ascent into adulthood. Also “Dreams” – which is a song about her being deliriously in real love for the first time and is much more upbeat. Her youthful innocence and even naivete ring through in the song’s lyrics and tone, and I’ve also been there many times in my life. And, of course – the song about the IRA; “Zombie” spoke to my own anger and disillusionment, though – at the time – I didn’t know much about the IRA or the troubles over across the pond. Another appropriated meaning of her lyrics, I guess, for my own emotional connections.

Now – even the more calm or obscure songs I didn’t initially like, such as “Ode To My Family” resonate with me because I can relate more to them now that I’m older and have lived life a little more than I did back when I first heard “Linger”.

This post is a bit late in response to Dolores’ death, but I still think about her and the Cranberries often. I am just so incredibly sad that a talented artist such as herself died at such a young age. She was only 46 and still had so much to offer the world. However, we still have her voice, we still have her body of music. That’s something. Whatever troubles she had are now gone. I hope she’s in a better place.

If you haven’t given the Cranberries a chance, please – I implore you – give them a listen. Smart lyrics, talented musicians, and entertaining music videos…The Cranberries had it all.