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Revisiting a musician's work upon their death


#1

In response to Dolores O’Riordan death, my friend and I were having a conversation about the death of a musician sparking a critical reappraisal of their work. I do believe that looking back on an artist’s career after death can be a great way to pay tribute but it can also come off as a cheap way of getting page clicks; reviews by publications that have ignored their work for decades only to slap a moving writeup on their better known albums sometimes leaves a sour taste.

What do you guys think? I know it may be too soon but I’m not only speaking of her work but of countless other musicians who have only gotten retroactive reviews/features after death.


#2

I’ve thought about this too, and it’s especially obvious in Dolores’s case because The Cranberries were never regarded as a “cool” band (so not cool, in fact, that Eminem sampled them on his new album). Like the coverage of Prince and Bowie’s deaths in 2016 felt genuine because those were acts that were still generally well-regarded despite their best material clearly being behind them (Blackstar tho). Cranberries, meanwhile, were a band pretty firmly embedded in the 90s so all these publications rushing to acknowledge her when no one was mythologizing them like other greats of decades past or even mentioning her did look a little foolish.

Pitchfork will generally do a Pitch piece on a deceased musician if they had some degree of influence, hence their “Why Cranberries Singer Dolores O’Riordan’s Voice Lingers” (cheesy title) piece, although the only coverage they had given the band before that was a mention of their acoustic 2017 album, naming the Bury the Hatchet cover as one of the worst album covers of all time, plus their collaboration with The Smiths (D.A.R.K.), probably reported because it had The Smiths. I’m guessing we’ll see a Sunday review of No Need to Argue or Everyone Else… sometime soon as well. She really did have a great voice so it’s sad to see these halfhearted acknowledgements of that. :-/


#3

I agree with you; that particular website never acknowledged their work. I also read the P4K feature on her and thought it funny that the writer could only mention three songs and only their three biggest hits in the entire thing as though only these three songs gave her and the band credibility as some sort of influence. But they succeeded in getting our views so it does reinforce what I was saying, especially from a website that virtually ignored the band’s contributions to music. I also am waiting for a Sunday review of one of their first three albums. Never before seen as a classic… but now?