“Wake Me When It’s Over” by The Cranberries
The focus of The Cranberries’ “Wake Me When It’s Over” is the guilty conscious of the person the singer is addressing. She presents this entity as a tormented soul who is basically suffering due to keeping something within which he should let out. Due to his not letting it out, as in “fighting” to keep it in, the associated guilt and angst he feels is killing him slowly, as in “eating (him) like a cancer”.
Who this song is addressed to is not specified – and intentionally so. Some have viewed it as being aimed at groups such as soldiers, while its own music video directs it at those who destroy the environment. But it should be noted that The Cranberries’ member Fergal Lawler has stated fellow band member Dolores O’Riordan, who wrote the song, actually did so about herself. However, at the same time she intended it to have an open interpretation, as in ‘the listeners deciding for themselves what the song is about’.
As for the title of the track, which also makes up its chorus, it is not abundantly clear how it fits into the overall narrative, though it can be interpreted in two ways. On one hand, it can be relaying the singer’s desire to witness when the aforementioned entity is actually brought to justice. This theory may be supported by the song’s bridge, which consists of the line “watch the rain drop”, as in bearing witness to something inevitable transpiring. Or she can be saying that the experience of watching this individual suffer and be dishonest is causing her so much discontent that she wants no part of it. This would likely be the case especially if she wrote the song about herself.
So ultimately, “Wake Me When It’s Over” reads like a tale of deception and deceit yet ultimate justice. For even if the guilt which is being withheld is not brought to light, it is still going to destroy the person possessing it from within.
Facts about “Wake Me When It’s Over”
- This song was completed after the untimely death of the band’s lead singer, Dolores O’Riordan (1971-2018). As such, her featured vocals are actually demos she recorded.
- “Wake Me When It’s Over” is featured on The Cranberries 2019 studio album, In the End. In the End marked their final album, as the group disbanded due to the aforementioned death of O’Riordan. And with this song being the last single released from the album (it debuted on 19 March 2019), it also apparently marks the last single the band will ever release.
- The music video to “Wake Me When It’s Over” is an animated piece. The Cranberries made this video in conjunction with the Limerick School of Art and Design, which is based in their hometown of Limerick, Ireland.
- Dolores O’Riordan is the sole writer of this song, and it was produced by Stephen Street. Street worked with the Cranberries on the entirety of In the End.