Meaning of “Ode to My Family” by The Cranberries

“Ode to My Family” is the first track from The Cranberries second studio album titled No Need to Argue. The lyrics find the narrator, who is so far away from her family, deeply missing them.

In a 2017 interview that the lead singer of The Cranberries, Dolores O’Riordan, granted to Songfacts, she revealed the meaning behind “Ode to My Family”. According to her, the lyrics are about the choice she made to pursue the career of a rock star and the misunderstanding she had with her parents regarding her choice.

She referred to the song as a “therapeutic song”. She later added that she wrote the song when she and The Cranberries were touring America. She said during the tour, she was so far away from her family and loved ones and feeling very lonely. The loneliness she felt being away from her loved ones birthed the lyrics of this track.

Facts about “Ode to My Family”

  • Cranberries members Dolores and Noel Hogan wrote this song whereas Stephen Street produced it. Street first made name for himself producing the works of the British indie band, The Smiths.
  • The release date of “Ode to My Family” was November 21, 1994. This was the second single of the album No Need to Argue.
  • American visual artist Samuel Bayer directed the music video for “Ode to My Family”. Prior to that, he had also directed the video for the band’s hit single “Zombie“.

How did “Ode to My Family” perform on the charts?

It performed pretty well on charts around the globe. For example, on the UK Singles Chart, it peaked at number 26. It entered the top 10in a number of countries, including Australia, France and New Zealand. In Iceland, it peaked at number 1.

12 Responses

  1. Brioche says:

    How it wasn’t a number one. I’ll never understand. V underrated band

  2. George. says:

    Missing her velvet like voice. Great band. Such a beautiful song. It brings tears to my eyes everytime..

  3. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful song

  4. Anonymous says:

    She had an amazing voice <3

  5. Andy says:

    Always wondered exactly what this song was about…sometimes great songs do need some interpretation.

  6. Ray says:

    Tells you charting could mean nothing sometimes. This one is a real gem!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think she’s one of the greatest female song writers and vocalists of all time. Lauded by some yes, but overall underrated.

  8. Miguel L. says:

    I am glad to know it was a cathartic expression of hers in a positive way. I was always afraid this song was about abuse and neglect she would suffer as a child. I’m relieved. Rest In Peace, Dolores!

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