The Cranberries – Everybody Else is Doing it, So Why Can’t We? (1993)
Continuing with June’s theme of Women of the ’90s, let’s take a look at why The Cranberries, Everybody Else is Doing it, So Why Can’t We?, is one of my Quintessential Albums.
A Little History:
Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? is the debut album by The Cranberries. Released in 1993, it was their first full-length album after having released four EPs and is also their first major label release.
The album was written entirely by the band’s lead singer Dolores O’Riordan and guitarist Noel Hogan. It reached # 9 in the Irish charts and # 1 in the UK.
The album was re-released in 2002, under the title Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? (The Complete Sessions 1991-1993). This version of the album featured bonus tracks as well as B-sides from the singles lifted off the album. (from Wikipedia)
After the release of a first single, “Dreams” in September 1992, The Cranberries proposed their debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, in March 1993 (which “Dreams” is featured on). Neither the album nor the single gained much attention, nor did a second single, “Linger”, also on the album.
When the band embarked on a tour supporting Suede, they then caught the attention of MTV, which put their videos into heavy rotation. Although “Linger” was first released in the UK in February 1993, peaking at # 74, it was later re-issued in February 1994 peaking at # 14. (from Wikipedia)
This was followed by “Dreams” (re-released in May 1994, peaking at # 27) which helped their debut album to reach # 1 on the UK Album Chart, becoming one of only five artists to ever achieve a re-entry at that chart position.
After a North American and European Tour, O’Riordan married the band’s tour manager, Don Burton, in July 1994. (from Wikipedia)
What Makes This “Quintessential” to me?
Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? is so completely ’90s to me, not just in sound and style, but in the way it makes me feel like I am back there, back in 1993, living in my favorite apartment on Wilshire with my then husband (though in the same year we would split) and our year old daughter. I could usually be found wearing baby doll floral dresses and crushed velvet leggings, staying up late at the Winged Heart Cafe, and being utterly confused with who I was. I fell out of love that year, and then in it anew not so long after. I had no idea what I was doing with my life, but I was trying hard to figure it out.
This album, every song, it reminds me of sitting in the cafe down the road, after hours, this album playing. I felt lost, but some small part of me felt like I was finding people to belong with. I was trying hard to figure out how to be a Mom, how to go to school still, how to turn a bad relationship into a functional family. It never could.
That year, I met the man who I’d spend a huge chunk of my life with. Who I would live in four different states with, ever chasing the chance to be okay. Together. We had so many dreams. He was broken in ways I could never fix, though I tried. I tried so hard. All the broken parts in me, the times I needed help, he couldn’t stand. He needed me to be the strong one. Always.
We took this album with us. Every step of the way. Every state line, new home, to every stop-and-start. It was part of our shared favorites. We new ever song, we knew every line. He even played one on the guitar, singing to me in our first apartment bedroom, and later, singing it as a lullaby to our first child together.
Though the “hits” on this album suffered from mass overplay for awhile, they persist as great songs, twenty-six years later they still sound incredible.
And the non-radio “hits”? They are gorgeous, emotional, and stunning. The whole album is really.
My Top 5 Favorite Songs:
“Now you’re just walking away (walking away),
when you said you always would stay (always would stay).”
2. “I Still Do”
“Need some time to find myself.”
3. “Put Me Down”
“I can’t take this anymore.
I decided to leave,
Walked out through the door.”
I swore I would be true,
so did you.”
5. “I Will Always”
“I will always,
go beside you,
You will always,
Booksmart was directed by Olivia Wilde, from a screenplay written by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman. The film stars Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, who play best friends on the cusp of high school graduation, and changes that will separate them. They have spent their lives goal-oriented, focused, and driven, avoiding anything reckless or non-academic. They decide to break the rules on their graduation eve, and the film takes us along for the ride.
Written by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman
Directed by Olivia Wilde
Movie of the Day
I was lucky to have seen a preview showing of Booksmart a few weeks ago. But, in order to both support women filmmakers and also share the movie with my daughters, we went to see it again today. What a perfect way to start June off – a Summertime feel of a movie starring awesomely talented women, written by awesomely talented women, and directed by an awesomely talented woman.
Booksmart is clever, funny, well-written, and original in its take on the teenage/coming of age/one night left/party genre. It defies expectations while still visiting those well-trodded teen tropes that we all know and love.
I love the young women in this film who are taking agency of their sexuality and sex, their life choices, and their futures. I applaud a real look at best friends-friendship, the good and the bad. I think it speaks a lot to relationships and intimacy, the give-and-take between people, and how it is to be a best friend/in a best friendship.
At times, it reminded me a lot of the best friend I grew up with. The intimacy we shared, and the struggles. It definitely made me miss her, too.
The leads in this are fantastic. I’ve been a fan of Kaitlyn Dever since the film Short Term 12, and have enjoyed her in other movies such as Laggies, and The Spectacular Now. And Beanie, she stole the movie Ladybird in so many ways, to me. I can’t wait to see what both actors do next.
I’d also be remiss to not mention the comedy brilliance, and overall glow, of Billie Lourd. I’ve had my eye on her since her stints on “American Horror Story” and “Scream”, and because of her family ties (Carrie Fisher – a forever favorite, and inspiration, of mine). Billie is outrageous in this film, in the best kind of way.
The love and laughter and awkward moments and heart in this film are what makes it so enjoyable, and what will stick with me for a long time to come. I love that there was no real difference in the characters experience with love and sex, regardless of their sexuality. It was great to see an awkward bathroom-at-a-party sex scene with two girls, sex that wasn’t “lesbian for the male gaze”, but sex that felt like real first-time clumsiness and nervousness. I like that the movie flips stereotypes on their heads, even if the film has received criticism for having everyone be “too nice” to each other (I really don’t see it that way).
All in all, this movie is great fun. A good time. Full of heart and laughter and bittersweet joy. I know I’m going to add this to my movie collection when I can and add it to my roster of movies that make me feel good.
Also, yay women filmmakers and writers and actors – if you want to see more like this go out to the theaters and support movies like this – so we can get more, and more.
Go see Booksmart right now in theaters – and take your best friends along with you!
“Silent All These Years” by Tori Amos
from the album, Little Earthquakes (1992)
Video by Cindy Palmano
Video of the Day
“My scream got lost in a paper cup.
You think there’s a heaven where some screams have gone?
I got twenty-five bucks an’ a cracker,
do you think it’s enough,
to get us there?”
I never took that trip
My Grandfather was a gypsy. Well, not really. He was a welder. Born in Mexico City, though he’d spend his life denying it due to the bigotry and racism he encountered being from “across the border” and living in Los Angeles, in the ’40s. He told everyone he was born in Spain, that he was European, changing his last name, and marrying a girl that was first generation American. Her family actual European immigrants, coming from Denmark and Germany. My Grandfather had an infectious laugh, a love of big band music and Mariachi, and of the long and winding road. He would drive anywhere. All you had to say was “let’s go”. He managed to make any holiday an excuse to pack up the van, or the RV and set off to discover someplace new.
My Grandmother was more of the home and hearth type. She didn’t enjoy life on the road, though she always came along for the ride, often sitting in the farthest backspace, complaining about the twists and turns, the heights on travels that took us up mountains and cliff sides, often threatening to get out of the vehicle and walk back home. Looking back, I wonder if she protested too much. If there was something more to the bickering and heated words between them, barbed pointy things that would come out while he kept driving. Did she enjoy the fighting? The complaining? Or was there resentment between them that I will never know?
Maybe she secretly loved the trips and travel.
Or maybe I just want to believe that because I find it so hard to fathom why she wouldn’t love every minute of it. I know I did.
My Grandfather let me ride shotgun. He gave me the job of the navigator, of opening the complicated folds of the map that were far too big for my small arms to outstretch completely. The job included being an eagle eye to all things interesting, to point out roadside attractions, and search and find the best places to stop for a meal, or a soft serve ice cream cone. I quickly learned that the smaller, unassuming diners were usually the best choice and that a story can be crafted out of just about anything you set your mind to. We used to be the only ones still awake and talking, as we rolled through the desert in the middle of the night, building on stories one or the other would start, inspired from a lone, misshapen cactus, or a counter clerk with an unusual laugh who rang us up a full tank of gas and glass bottles of Coca Cola.
My Grandfather taught me the love of the road, and of telling stories. In many ways, he helped shape the writer in me. I know when my restlessness hits the first thing I long for is to just hit the road and go. Sometimes its a weakness in me, a lack of desire to stay in one place for too long, my commitment issues to anything and anyone beyond my children. At times, though, I think it is one of my finest strengths, as it has made me flexible, adaptable, and capable to start over – and capable of knowing (and believing) that starting over is always an option. It has saved my life before in more ways than I care to express today. It may very well save my life again.
I know that I see the world differently because of my Grandfather. That I see possibilities and histories and stories to tell in everyone I come across, and how I’m often burning to tell them or write them all down. I know that my gypsy soul and the writer that I am is more than partially due to him, and I wish sometimes that I could travel back in time and tell him just how much he meant to me, and how much he has made me the woman that I am – a writer, a traveler, a gypsy, a survivor, a lover of change, and of the road itself.
“Graceland” by Charlie Sexton
from the True Romance Soundtrack (1995)
The first of June’s Top 5 Music Obsessions is a mix of old and new, featuring two new tracks released this week that I can’t get enough of, a song by one of my favorite women of the ’90s (on theme), one of my favorites from my teenage years in the ’80s, and a sad and beautiful song that breaks my heart as much as it soothes it. Those are the best kinds sometimes, don’t you think?
I’m having a really hard time right now. So many people are struggling right now. I feel selfish complaining, and I find it hard to ask for help, or to speak on how I’m feeling at all. I’m grateful for those people in my life who are there for me, who remind me that I matter, and who don’t turn away or get upset if I’m not doing well. I don’t know what I’d do without them. It’s hard though, I feel alone and lonely, and I feel myself retreating inward, putting up walls and shuttering up my feelings. My writing has suffered for it, I’ve suffered for it, too. I need to make some big changes that will take a lot out of me, but something has to give. I can’t be this unhappy all the time. It isn’t good for anyone. It isn’t good for me.
Small changes first though. I am giving myself the time to breathe and plan and sort it all so I minimize regrets and curb my flight/run away fast knee-jerk reactions. Spontaneity and rashness are not always the right choice. So those small choices. Re-connecting with my writing, here and with my novel. Re-connecting with friends and mending things where they need mending, forgiving where forgiveness is needed, apologizing where apologies are needed, and that goes for me, too. I need to find her. The me in me again.
Enough of all that sad. Let’s turn up the music and celebrate a “first” day. A new beginning. The start of June.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – Saturday, June 1, 2019
1. “Hurry On Home” by Sleater-Kinney
Single release – 2019
“You know I’m unfuckable.
But just hurry on home to me.
I’ve made more space for you.”
Produced by Annie Clark, also known as St. Vincent. Danceable and all those things above that say un. No, this track is all of those things. I’d fuck it, love it, listen to it, dance with it, and then do it all over again. Wouldn’t you?
I can’t wait to hear the full album.
2. “Some Jingle Jangle Morning” by Mary Lou Lord
from the album, Lights Are Changing (1998)
“Somewhere it all got crazy,
and now it’s like a dream,
and I knew that I blew it from the start.
I was too freaked out to deal with it all.
And too fucked up to care.
I stood right there and watched it fall apart.”
One of my favorites from the ’90s. I felt every word of that.
Of all the things I seem to do right, relationships aren’t one of them.
3. “Calm Down” by Pete Yorn
Single Release – 2019
“I wish I knew then what I know now.”
It’s always a better day when a new Pete Yorn song comes into my life. His music has always got me, and gotten to me, soothing the parts of me that feel broken, gifting me hope and inspiration.
“Calm Down” is no exception. I’m feeling so lost and so full of regrets, beating myself up for mistakes and for being me. But, I don’t have a time machine. I didn’t know then what I know now. All I can do is breathe, and yeah, “Calm Down”. As always, thanks, Pete.
4. “Medicine” by Daughter
from the album, Wild Youth (2012)
“You’ve got a warm heart.
You’ve got a beautiful brain.
But, it’s disintegrating.”
Such a heartbreaking song. Such a beautiful song. It feels so relevant right now that it hurts to listen to, but I keep listening. It makes me feel less alone.
5. “So In Love” by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
from the album, Crush (1985)
“Talk to me,
don’t lie to me,
save your breath.
Don’t look at me,
don’t smile at me,
just close your eyes.”
My favorite OMD song. This one takes me back to 1985 with the very first notes. I’m transported. A slide show of memories. A school dance in a church basement. The backseat of a friend’s car. The beach on a late Summer afternoon. The light blue walls (mostly covered in posters). Taping songs off the radio. My best friends.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – June 2019
Hello June, it’s so nice to see you. For this month I thought I’d have a Song of the Day theme. I’m going to be doing a theme for each Summer month this year, and who knows, if it goes well maybe I’ll do one every month moving forward. For June, the Song of the Day theme is Women from the ’90s. Think Lilith Fair. Think Riot Grrl. Think girl groups and R&B. Think alternative and indie and folk.
I was definitely all about women in music in the ’90s. The majority of my music collection were women artists. I went to every year of Lilith Fair, blasted Riot Grrl music from my car stereo, fell in love with Tori, Fiona, Liz, Courtney, PJ…and so many more.
Sarah McLachlan was one of those fell in love in the ’90s artists. I remember sitting on the hardwood floor of my second-floor apartment listening to Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, my baby daughter asleep in the infant seat next to me. I remember taking that album with me when I left a chapter of my life behind. Playing it over and over, picking new favorite tracks to put into mixtapes that I gave to friends, or hope to be lovers.
“Good Enough” was, and still is, one of my favorites from the album. It speaks so much to the woman I was then. 1994. Me at 25. Struggling with shaky self-esteem, trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted, a young mom who was clumsy at love, but who loved regardless. A huge music fan, but really, when haven’t I been? I wanted to feel “Good Enough”. I usually didn’t, but I wanted to. And I was drawn to people who made me feel a little bit that way. Not the best way to get self-esteem, from other people and from outside of myself, but it is definitely who I was at 25.
“Good Enough” by Sarah McLachlan
from the album, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (1994)
Song of the Day – Women of the ’90s
“I never would have opened up,
but you seemed so real to me.
After all the bullshit I’ve heard,
it’s refreshing not to see –
I don’t have to pretend,
she doesn’t expect it from me.”
“Good Enough” spoke to me at the time because of the relationship I was in. I felt lost and alone, hurt, and damaged in ways that would have a long-lasting impact.
I was in a crumbling, dysfunctional, emotionally abusive relationship at the time this album came out. Luckily for me, I met people, friends, as well as someone who would end up being one of the great loves of my life, who helped me see my way through it, and helped restore some of my damaged self-esteem. They helped me feel “Good Enough“, even though, as I wrote above, I should have worked on figuring that out for myself. Life is hard. Being in your twenties is hard. Love is hard. Growing up (if we ever really do) is hard, too. Very hard. And I was certainly struggling with it.
I still struggle with it. A lot. And I still spend many days (and nights) feeling not “Good Enough”.
I remember a year after Fumbling Towards Ecstasy came out I stumbled on this incredible compilation CD that had two tracks from FTE on it, one of them being “Good Enough”. Slowbrew: Music for a Cafe Culture became a quick favorite of mine. I knew and loved every song on it. I used to play it almost daily, in 1995. This was definitely a cafe culture era for me. I spent most nights at The Winged Heart, walking distance from that apartment where I first listened to Sarah.
A few years after Fumbling Towards Ecstasy I would see Sarah sing “Good Enough” live, at the first Lilith Fair (and at the two that would follow). I remember standing there with a friend, crying my eyes out, as I sang-a-long. I was crying because it still felt relevant and true, and I was crying because I knew how far I’d come from who I was the first time I’d heard it.
I’m crying today, listening and singing-a-long to it, for those exact reasons.