Why This Song Sucks

The Cranberries' 'Zombie': Why This Song Sucks

Comments (0)


Wed, May 23, 2012 at 4:00 AM

[Editor's note: Why This Song Sucks determines why particular tracks blow using science. It appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday.]

Song: The Cranberries, "Zombie"

History: "Zombie" came out in 1994. It was on No Need to Argue, the second album from the Irish rock band that everyone spent a few years pretending to like. BTW, Ireland, America still isn't over Tom Cruise's accent in Far and Away. Screw you for that.

click to enlarge Cruise.jpg

Atmospherics: Swollen riffs; zah-om-bay-aye-ayes; psuedo sadness; creepy whimpering.

Scientific Analysis: There are no obvious transgressions here; no lapses in reason or logic, no faulty mechanics. This SEEMS an okay enough song. But "Zombie" (along with any Cranberries song, really) carries with it one massively unforgivable sin against science: It fosters faux intellectualism, and faux intellectualism is the fucking worst. It's worse than just being dumb.

Apparently, "Zombie" was written on a righteous righteousness tip to call out North Ireland for some serious bitchassness, and that's cool, I suppose. But the way it was packaged meant it mostly served as an excuse for people in high school and college to act like they knew that the world had more countries in it than the United States, Mexico and Canada.

click to enlarge Zombie4.jpg
Here, two pieces of empirical evidence:

The Jesse Dichotomy: There was one guy that I used to hang out with growing up named Jesse. Minus a semi-obsession with pornography, he was a sweet, good-natured kid. When this song got really popular, he started moping around all the time, saying shit like, "I just feel so bad for what's happening in Ireland right now." This from the same guy that drove his car into the side of his mom's house because he got the D and R mixed up on the gear shift. Jackass.

The Marcus Conundrum: The school I went to was almost exclusively Latino. There were MAYBE eight black kids there. One of them was named Marcus. He was a really likeable, really funny guy. We were on the basketball team together, and he lived two streets from me, so we became friends. And since he was in our social circle, and since our social circle's ethos was driven by the desire to (a) have people think we were tough and (b) trick girls into considering the notion that we were advanced enough for them to want to give us handjobs, The Cranberries' No Need to Argue album became a part of his discography just as quickly as Too Short's Cocktails. Before too long, he was a Cranberries zealot.

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets


  • Nico Vega's Album Release Party
    The Sunset Strip burned up the music scene as Nico Vega launched their Lead to Light record release bash Monday night at The Roxy. Dark Waves played an amazing debut performance, while Queen Caveat broke open the the jammed packed club. Nico Vegas frontwoman Aja Volkman danced in the crowd, brought the party on stage, and painted dots on fans foreheads. Good times as always on the Strip! All photos by Michele McManmon.
  • Air Guitar Championship Semifinals @ The Troubadour
    The Southwest Semifinals of the US Air Guitar Championship were held last Saturday at the historic Troubadour Club in West Hollywood. The event determined who would compete as regional representatives at the 2014 National Finals in Kansas City on August 9th. The colorful contestants (many of whom opted for elaborate codpieces) were judged by comedians Kristen Schaal and the Sklar Brothers. The top score was awarded to crowd-surfing guitarist Kingslayer, the mother of a teenage son who also competed wearing little more than an American flag bathing suit. All photos by Gustavo Turner.
  • Lina in L.A. -- Country in the City
    Greg Allman kicked off KCRW and the Annenberg Foundation's free concert series on Saturday evening in cool fashion. The series, in conjunction with Annenberg's current exhibit, "Country -- Portrait of An American Sound," features superstars and rising stars from the genre on an outdoor stage in Century Park, plus food trucks, beer gardens and museum entry. More info at kcrw.com.