The '90s wouldn't be the '90s without that unmistakable angsty voice-with-a-yodel of Dolores O'Riordan. And it wouldn't be *my* '90s if their cassette tape wasn't inside the radio of my box-type car, driving around the traffic-less streets of Metro Manila, my heart heavy with some thought or other, my head rocking to their guitars and drums, my soul busy with processing whatever it is that needs processing at that time. The Cranberries were a good background soundtrack for that stage in my life back then.
It was 1993, 1994, 1995. The years when I traded my original college (Fine Arts) for another (Mass Comm) inside the same campus (UP Diliman). I traded my techpens, pencils, paintbrushes for an SLR camera and a video camera. It wasn't an easy transition, because it wasn't 100% sanctioned. New friends, new knowledge, and new music soothed me that time. Dolores became one of my anonymous best friends. And as a frustrated drummer, Fergal rocked for me.
I finished my 16mm film thesis back in '94-'95 with her singing in the background, started facing life after college in '95-'96 still with her in the background, and I even dragged one of my film school buddies to watch them live in concert when they came here in '96.
It was the first mosh pit of my life, that Cranberries Live in Manila concert. We were literally a spit away from her, her mic stand full of attached guitar picks which she plucked out like she was plucking petals from a flower. And some of those she picked she threw or handed to us in the front rows. Until later, I can't recall if it was her or the other guitarist who came out with a small box of those guitar picks, and threw them to us like we were children hungry for candy. Magaling akong sumalo sa ganyan beh! So ang dami kong nakuha at naiuwi. Pero mas precious yung inabot sa akin mismo ni Dolores that time. Transferring rental apartments in 10 years made me lose those mementos lang, which is sad.
But of course, this is sadder. To hear that she is gone. Playing When You're Gone now, because I just want to feel so fucking meta right now. This is actually one of my favorite songs of theirs. And Salvation, too.
Nakakalungkot. When you're in a stage of your life where you want to just let go of it all, here comes some pop culture snippets that will make you hang on, will make you want to hang on for a bit more, until you let go of wanting to let go, and just go on and move forward, wherever forward may lead you.
Their music was that to me back then. Isa sa mga kinapitan ko. Matinding kapit. At kapag ganoon kalalim ang kapit mo, tatatak sa iyo iyon hanggang sa pagtanda mo.
And here I am, manghang-mangha pa rin na nakaabot ako sa 44, dahil nga hindi ako bumitaw. Ilang tumbling na lang ngayong taon, 45 na ako. Siya, namatay kanina, 46 siya. Hindi pala kami nagkakalayo ng edad.
Salamat, little girl from Limerick. Your music will linger in me, within me, until letting go is not an option anymore, but a finality.