Album Review

Dolores O'Riordan, 'No Baggage'

August 24, 2009

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Dolores O'Riordan No Baggage
Zoe/ Rounder
ESSENTIAL “The Journey’’

Dolores O’Riordan fronted the platinum-selling Celtic rockers the Cranberries in the ’90s, before that group commenced a long hiatus (they still haven’t officially broken up) while she raised four children. She retains a beautiful voice, but this sophomore solo album is undone by a batch of not-so-great songs. She wallows in more melodrama than might be expected, while trying to be self-consciously profound. The music is as stiff as many of the lyrics. “Show me the sun, I can’t see the sun,’’ she sings in the opening “Switch Off the Moment.’’ And “I’m not prepared, I’m running scared,’’ she adds in the tender but bizarre closing tune, “Tranquilizer.’’ She seems lost and even paraphrases a U2 line: “Still I haven’t found what I’m searching for.’’ She also oversings too many songs, endlessly repeating words and phrases. That suggests a lack of time spent writing better lyrics. By far the best song is the stately “The Journey,’’ which has a mystical edge missing elsewhere. This new CD may just be a holding pattern before a Cranberries reunion. (Out tomorrow) -- STEVE MORSE

O’Riordan headlines the Paradise Rock Club on Sept. 27.