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Zombie love

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The Cranberries will perform Dec. 3 at the Pearl.
Photo: Andy Earl

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The Cranberries
Dec. 3, 8 p.m., $35.
The Pearl
942-6832

I loved The Cranberries’ “Zombie” before zombies were cool. I liked the way it alludes to something large—Northern Ireland’s sectarian violence—while being about something else entirely, at least for me: the way Dolores O’Riordan clenches her pipes around the first syllable of “zombie” in the chorus: “ZA-AHM-bie, ZA-AHM-bie, ZA-AHM-bie”; the stern pattern and repetition of “with their tanks and their bombs and their bombs and their guns”; the pretty Irish lilt that gleams along the edges of certain phrases, counterpoised against the tamed grunge of the guitar line. It sounded great. I mean, from my vantage point here, the Troubles were a collage of distant headlines about scrimmaging foreigners—I knew it was “important,” but I had my own crap, right? Yet I somehow fastened on to “Zombie,” and its formal delights as a disposable song eventually jimmied a back window in my mind for the content to slip through. Zombies? Oh, hey; I get it now. Wish more pop songs did that.

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