"Salvation" is the lead single for The Cranberries third studio album To the Faithful Departed. The single had some success in the US (where it was #1 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart for four weeks), it reached number 8 in the Irish charts and had success in the UK, and it showed the true colours of the new album having a darker and rawer sound than the group had previously showed.
It talks about drug abuse, and how one should refrain from falling into it. The directness of the song was regarded as bland and too preachy by the media and critics, but Dolores O'Riordan said that it wasn't supposed to tell people what to do, but it was rather a personal reflection; she was talking to herself.
"Salvation" was recorded at Windmill Lane Studios during the 1995 sessions for To The Faithful Departed.
The music on Salvation was written by Dolores O'Riordan and Noel Hogan. The lyrics were written by O'Riordan. Produced by Bruce Fairbairn and engineered by Mike Plotnikoff.
The horn section on Salvation was performed by Richie Buckley (Tenor Sax), Michael Buckley (Baritone Sax) and Bruce Fairbairn (Trumpet).
"Salvation" was released as a single in April 1996. A hit in the US, the song also crashed into the UK charts at #13, making it the band's second biggest hit.
There was no CD single issued in the US, and thus, it didn't make it into the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. It reached #1 (and stayed there for 4 weeks) on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart. In the UK, the single peaked at #13.
In the Irish Singles Chart it got to #8, making it their third biggest hit on their home soil.
The music video for "Salvation" was directed in March 1996 by Olivier Dahan in France, for the company Bandits Productions.
It is one of the most acclaimed videos by the band's fans. It has a bizarre mood, and notorious references to drug use and abuse. It shows a clown with needles instead of hair, a confused girl whose parents are being held by the clown, all in a torn house at the top of a hill.
The bizarre images are supposed to represent the effects drugs have on people. The clown jumping on the teddy bear is a symbol of the loss of innocence, and the trapped parents show how drugs are a problem that affect not only the consumer, but also his or her close relatives/friends.
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