Video Hangover: The Cranberries – “Salvation”

By Stereogum / September 18, 2007 - 11:37 am

Every week, we dig in the archives for videos that we find noteworthy, memorable, or just unbelievably stupid. And then, Jon McMillan breaks ‘em down for you. Why Video Hangover? Because when you watch as many videos as we do, you’re going to feel it afterwards.

“Salvation”
The Cranberries, 1996

For a song with such a pretentiously overt anti-drug message, this video makes drugs look pretty cool.


Drugs and the circus: still a bad combination
Let’s just go ahead and add heroin-needle head clown to the list of scary video icons. It’s bad enough that he has syringes for hands, but when he feeds the girl from a bottle and paints her parents with clown makeup? That’s just disturbing. This guy makes Keith Flint look like a plush toy.

Ursine symbolism quiz
The yellow teddy bear represents:
a) A real bear, that is actually yellow
b) The sweet, sweet innocence of childhood
c) Kanye West
d) Mimes, the natural enemy of clowns
e) Bono’s jaundiced heart

On the other hand, somebody at A&M keeps greenlighting Maroon 5 videos
There’s some weird good angel/bad angel audio/video parallelism going on here. Musically, “Salvation” is snappy (as in efficient), poppy (as in full of hooks), and catchy (as in can’t get it out of your head). Lyrically, however, it’s like the self-help version of “Nookie.” Nice message, poor execution. Similarly, the main visual metaphors are huge and awkward and obvious (Drugs look friendly, but they’re dangerous! They’ll hold your family hostage!). But damn if the whole thing doesn’t look great. Part Tim Burton, part J-horror nightmare, it’s a good reminder of the times, not so long ago, when major labels had enough money to throw serious artistic talent (director Olivier Dahan directed the recent Edith Piaf biopic La Vie En Rose) at second-tier singles from bands like the Cranberries.

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