Irish alternative rock band The Cranberries was formed in Limerick, Ireland in the late 1980s. The band’s late lead singer, Dolores O’Riordan, famously penned the lyrics of “Linger” when she was only 17 years old, and the track ultimately launched the band to global success. O’Riordan passed away in 2018 in an accidental drowning, and her surviving bandmates continue to honor her legacy. The group released “Remembering Dolores” in 2021, which included a collection of previously unreleased tracks.
Thirty years after its release, “Linger” is making its way into TikTok’s trendiest sounds, which has historically signified an impending soar up the Billboard charts. As of now, “Linger” has soundtracked over 46,000 videos on the platform. TikTok’s role in popular culture has had a huge impact on the music industry. Television shows like “Stranger Things” and “The Last of Us” employing the use of older tracks (including Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and Linda Ronstadt’s “Long Long Time”) in their storylines is contributing to the ongoing trend of older music hitting the charts.
“Linger” has not made any recent television or film appearances lately, which makes the social media trends all the more mysterious. Some TikTok users are taking to the platform to discuss O’Riordan’s intricate songwriting on the track that she wrote at such a young age, while others use it to soundtrack videos about 1990s nostalgia. O’Riordan once told Rolling Stone that she wrote the song about a 17-year-old soldier she fell in love with when she was a teenager.
Elsewhere on TikTok, users have paired the song with a popular filter, the “Dancers Generator.” The filter highlights a subject and turns it into dancing stick figures on screen.
The song details the singer’s experience of longing for someone who might not have been the right match for them. Some Twitter users are putting a twist on the lyrics, using “letting it linger” in homage to the song as a new caption for the latest meme format to emerge out of the platform.
letting it linger memes ive saved / a thread pic.twitter.com/KkCHdmlcGF
— michael ???? (@mialva05) April 4, 2023
linger by the cranberries memes i’ve collected over the week pic.twitter.com/AzmUdnaQtm
— sable (@fruitdotcom) April 5, 2023
Others are pointing out the irony of a song with arguably sad and bittersweet lyrics rapidly becoming a popular meme format.
While the origin of this trend is still unclear, social media users just want to get one message across–that sometimes, it really is okay to just let it linger.