The Stone Roses were seen as a very legendary unit of music creation. In the late 1980s, the UK had reached the nadir of Thatcherism and an underground cultural rebellion was ongoing. Various musical movements, especially Acid House, had emerged as an undercurrent of youthful rebellion and musical culture worth paying attention to. The Stone Roses were a successful attempt to meld together the two main trends of the time together that was Indie Rock and the ongoing Acid House scene and they did so on this album, their debut album. This is what the world of music needed, five years prior to the release of the Oasis album Definitely Maybe, with both albums changing the course of music together in different ways. The Stone Roses got there first though, led by the charismatic Ian Brown (vocals) and with John Squire (guitars), Mani (bass guitar), and Reni (drums), these four young men were on a musical mission to show the world that the Manchester-based Madchester scene had more to offer than just ecstasy pills. This, therefore, should be a great listen and is often seen as a stone-cold classic in retrospect. The cover artwork was done by John Squire, alluding to the French Revolution in the late 1700s. Without further waiting, let’s hear this album from start to finish and see how it stacks up today.
I Wanna Be Adored launches this album with some rather interesting faded sounds that are quite surreal. This is very suspenseful, and enjoyable to listen to as well. Gurgling melodic bass lines enter, and we are underway. Instantly, although this sounds very 1980s and retro, it has power, presence, and purpose. An excellent and joyful tune to listen to, this sounds very unique and pretty. Ian Brown’s singing has some interesting lyricism to it, “Don’t have to sell my soul…he’s already in me” which possibly refers to being possessed. In any case, this is a great start to this album, although it does sound very dated today. Nonetheless, it is easy to hear how bands in the early 1990s were influenced by this album as it is a very good listen from this point onwards. Ian Brown’s singing is ridiculously good and this is stunning music to hear. Great tune and one of the most iconic moments of this album. It ends very well with a bunch of discordant sounds, nice work here.
She Bangs The Drums begins with Disco styled hi-hats, some bright and open guitar chords, and clanging basslines. This is a very fine song, although it sounds incredibly dated today. No doubt that this is a good Pop/Rock tune. However, it sounds a bit too 1980s and sterile to be enjoyed to the full. The singing is the best point of this song, and Ian Brown commands a presence musically that sounds powerful and terrific. Unfortunately, the very dated and retrospective mix kills this song. Although this album has had rave reviews elsewhere, this is good for 1980s music fans, and not really enjoyable for others. Ian Brown, however, does make himself out to be a really legendary singer and does a great job on this record. No doubt a legend of Manchester based music, he does incredibly well. Excellent tune, even if it sounds very dated.
Waterfall begins with some awesome chiming guitars and great riffing, which sounds glorious. Again, this is a decent song ruined by a very 1980s sound to it. Therein lies the issue with this album, the songs are fantastic, but the sounds aren’t overly original and drag the experience down a lot. Ian Brown does a great job singing here and is easily one of the best singers in Rock history. It is fairly easy to see why this music wasn’t sensationally huge as it sounds too 1980s for its own good. Great melodicism is present all the same and this is very singalong. One of the better cuts from this album, this definitely shows some interesting promise. Some mellow acoustic guitar parts are thrown in here, followed by a deep sounding guitar solo. Some excellent and funky wah-wah guitar parts are in this tune as well, which add some colour and flavour to the overall sound, before launching back into the main melody at hand. Good tune, it is very suspenseful listening. Worth your ears.
Don’t Stop is the previous song with reversed sounds. How original. Anyway, it does sound interesting and very nicely melodic but to be fair, the music isn’t exactly groundbreaking here. There is a 4/4 kick beat drum to make this danceable, but aside from that, you’re not missing much here. A gentle and relaxing listen throughout, however. This is closer to ridiculous than sublime, however, and it is only okay, nothing great here. It’s a good idea on paper, yet in reality, it doesn’t work that well. A different listening experience, this does sound weird and wonderful with the singing but seems rather a pathetic tune to listen to. This is supposed to be a classic album? Doubtfully so. A drag to hear. Avoid it unless you really want to hear sterilized 1980s music. The outro is different, but by this point, this album is worth stopping.
Bye Bye Bad Man begins with some good guitar parts by John Squire and some decent singing by Ian Brown, launching into a beautifully melancholic tune. Again, this is way too 1980s sounding and unlike most great bands of the time, didn’t exactly buck trends musically. It just sounds awkward. A poor attempt at catchy Pop/Rock music, this is a definite failure to hear. Sadly, even this song could have been bettered and it sounds so dated that this is like a running joke for an album (and song). Anyway, if you have ears, you’d be better off listening to Cardi B’s music, which says something. A sort of okay tune, but nothing really special here. Even the simplistic music of Acid House at the time was far better than this. Pathetic.
Elizabeth My Dear is obviously an anti-monarchy tune. It’s an acoustic piece, with some bile and anger toward the Queen. To be fair, this is actually really good and the rest of the album should have sounded more like this. A good listen and John Squire proves himself to be a decent guitarist. An interesting tune anyway, although it is less than a minute long. It fades out nicely.
(Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister begins with some basic open chords, calm vocals, and a different sounding tune at hand. It does sound very joyous, although the music still follows the overtly 1980s formula. A nice listening experience from this album, it does sound very passionate, especially the vocal delivery from singer Ian Brown. Sadly, this still carries the flaw of the tired 1980s sounds throughout, despite the fact that this is excellent music. A really gorgeous piece of music anyway, and good, although not great. Some weird chord attack structures are at the end here. It’s okay, but not perfect.
Made Of Stone begins with an excellent melancholy riff, launching into a good and interesting piece of music that sounds way too 1980s for its own good. Although this again is a good effort for music, it sounds terribly dated and quite miserably melancholic. A sad listen and something that isn’t joyful at all. Deep and meaningful could have been better done on this record, and this tune is representative of that. A nice try but not quite there musically, the dated production fails this otherwise good song. An interesting guitar solo is present here, but aside from that, largely forgettable music is present. It drags on quite a bit as well and sadly doesn’t do the job it is supposed to do so. Forgettable. It ends with the intro riff and a slowdown in tempo.
Shoot You Down begins with some cut-up shuffle drum loops, some nice driving basslines, and a vague hope that this is a lot better than the rest of the album. It’s decent but is still following the same flawed musical concept. This sounds somewhat like Lounge Jazz music and has a similar set of melodic feelings that The Chemical Brothers borrowed for later hits. Regardless, this is actually quite a good song to hear from this album. A decent and different piece of minimalism, this sounds sharp, nasty, and glorious. A joy to hear, this is definitely one of the better songs of this album, and proof that without the 1980s overtones, the material is quite essentially good to hear. A good and interesting listening experience, this is quite lovely music. Nice effort by The Stone Roses, an interesting and decent listen. Worth your time. It ends softly.
This Is The One begins with an interesting guitar riff arpeggio, followed by some subtle bass guitar work and some gorgeous acoustic guitar. Again, this sounds very 1980s but does so in a very charming way. Ian Brown is the true star of the song (and album) and the tune is about a lady being deeply in love with a man of fancy. This harks back to The Beatles and 1960s styled romanticism but does it surprisingly well. A heartfelt and deep tune, the music here is good, despite the fact it sounds like a real relic of the 1980s. In any case, a lovely and good listen all the same, although this is drenched in 1980s throwbacks musically. The sounds and playing are still really great, but this comes across as the Hoodoo Gurus, a little bit too much. Sadly, this is the case. A good song, but somewhat dragged down by the production. Once you hear it, you’ll be unlikely impressed. Anyway, it’s okay but very dated today. It ends with a looped vocal melody.
I Am The Resurrection is the infamous call cry to Stone Roses fans. It begins with a basic drumbeat and hi-hats entering the scene, followed by a melodic bass guitar riff. Ian Brown sings in a straightforward way, and this tune eventually bursts into an interesting and colourful tune. The lyrics, just as much as the music are very, very good. A really different and interesting listening experience, this is quite a good listen, although the music present isn’t that exciting or unique, to be honest. Still, one can hear the music and musicality from this song, and the album as well, although it is from a very generic sounding place. One thinks that, despite the fact that these songs are excellent, they would have been better off in a better set of production values. Nonetheless, Ian Brown sounds rather angry in this song. There is a breakdown near the middle, and the band completely changes course and goes into a funky sort of jam. Still, this isn’t the best music out there, although these guys could definitely play great tunes. The guitars and percussion are worth hearing as well, and this music is okay but could have been better for sure. The jam present is nice, and there is a false ending, before launching straight back into the mayhem at hand. John Squire’s guitar work is exceptionally good and the musical quality here is wonderful. It is a real shame that these songs are so 1980s and dated sounding. Anyway, this isn’t really the best you’ll hear from a Rock band, but it’s okay. Only okay, which in retrospect is disappointing. A good but not at all a great effort. It ends with chiming acoustic guitars fade, and some interesting bongo drums.
Fools Gold is the last song on this album, and to be frank, the best thing that the Stone Roses ever recorded. It begins with some finger clicking, interesting and awesome beats, and some beautiful, funky and melancholy sounding guitar, which is some great Fender Stratocaster. Ian Brown sings in such a beautiful and memorable way, and this tune takes one back to the days of Jimi Hendrix and other legendary 1960s musicians. This song is a pseudo-political observation about the way that chasing money is pointless. Nonetheless, this is amazing and asks the question: why doesn’t the rest of the album sound more like this? A great and legendary piece of music that sounds really awesome and incredible. Enjoyable and listenable for repeat listens, this is a great 10 minute long piece that, much like Oasis’s Columbia, could be extended as a jam for hours, and will still have the same impact. Beautiful, melodic, and powerful, Ian Brown is best immortalized in this song. Brilliant listen, the guitar work from John Squire is underrated here, and he plays like a true Rock legend. A brilliant tune. The second half is a fantastic and extended jam session that much be heard to be experienced, with psychedelic wah-wah guitars that are stereo panned. A brilliant and thoroughly amazing that sounds like a serious effort is here, the multitracked guitars do justice here. This is a true classic of a tune, sounding joyful and lively, with layers of sound to grab your attention. A great, great listen. This could be something ideal for a crossover between the guitar based world of Rock music and the ecstasy driven EDM scene. It still sounds great today, and if you need a good sample of this album, this is where to start. An excellent piece of music from start to finish, very epic indeed. Interesting. The ending is very unusual.
In retrospect, this album has aged very badly. Understandably, the effort and the application of music are here. However, it is too dated and unoriginal sounding to really truly be enjoyed. Therefore, this album is somewhat of a letdown, no matter how you see it. The Stone Roses blew any chance of ever having fame for these reasons, and in addition, the fact that it took them six years to record a follow-up which isn’t worth noting as it is worse than this release. Should you listen to this album? Only if you feel a bit nostalgic for some of the sounds of the 1980s. Otherwise, definitely not.
Disagree. A classic.