I first started getting into The Cranberries after the video for their song 'Zombie' came out in 1995. More than a decade later, this single remains one of the band's heaviest - both musically and conceptually. The song tells of the lengthy conflicts, known as The Troubles, that plagued Northern Ireland throughout much of the 20th century.
As natives of Ireland, the band aptly chose to film a video that further represents the message of the song; depicting footage of military occupation in the country, juxtaposed with scenes of young children playing together in an imaginary battle. The band is also shown performing together, and these clips seem to act to draw the connection between the group and the conflicts. While all of these previous scenes are filmed in black and white, the video also forms a contrast by adding a brightly colorful dramatistic element, in which vocalist Dolores O'Riordan appears covered in gold paint, singing in front of a cross, surrounded by children who are also painted gold. These portions of the video are highly reminiscent of REM's 'Losing My Religion' video, from the color schemes all the way to references of Saint Sebastian involving martyrdom and arrows.
The music video for 'Zombie' comes to a powerful climax at the end, as the song intensifies into a full-blown emotional assault. The military continues to take over, the children playing turn Lord of the Flies on one another, and the band rocks out while Dolores and her golden cherubs scream at the top of their lungs. Hmm, I think that's called symbolism.
This whole video brings me back to the early nineties, and successfully merges a cool song together with an important topic. Like U2 and The Smiths before them, The Cranberries carried the torch in shedding light not only on the problems surrounding Ireland and the U.K., but on the nature of violence all around the world.