1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative's Greatest Year

Green Day, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and 35 other bands who made the word "alternative" lose all meaning

38

The Cranberries, 'No Need to Argue'

The Cranberries No Need to Argue
Courtesy of Island Records

Aided by longtime Smiths' producer Stephen Street, this Irish band went unexpectedly multiplatinum with the well-tooled dream-pop of Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? in 1993. Just a year later, with Street still onboard, Noel Hogan's guitar jangle was both edgier and spookier and Dolores O'Riordan's ethereal swoop was deeper and harsher — whether she was implanting a hooky protest of IRA bombings in your hey-ee-ay-ead ("Zombie"), feeling set adrift in the loneliness of early adulthood ("Ode to My Family"), or mooning with pretentious abandon at "Yeats' Grave." O'Riordan proved a key transitional figure as Sinéad O'Connor's proud yelp evolved into the Lilith Fair lilt, the stepmother to mid-Nineties commercial breakthroughs like Sarah McLachlan's swoon or Alanis Morissette's quirk. Keith Harris

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