The Stone Roses: Eponymous Musical Excellence

The Stone Roses
Ta to Modo Design for this fantabulous realisation of John Squire’s artwork.

With rumours flying around The Stone Roses may be about to headline the Glastonbury festival (NB: That didn’t happen in the end), we at Professional Moron take a look at why (after two years away, following a 16 year split before that) the Manchester band can turn up and expect adulation.

It’s all due to their eponymous debut album, which has won Best Album Ever awards and is consistently voted one of the best recordings… ever! We like to be impartial here as sycophancy only ruins things, but the critics are goddamn right. It’s one hell of a record, mixing ’60 psychedelia with uplifting poppy undertones, occasionally merged with hints of blues rock and outright soaring anthems. It also concludes on one almighty note.

The Stone Roses

It was released in 1989 as the band’s debut. They’d previously recorded a debut in 1985 with Martin Hannett (notorious madman and legend in one – he worked on Joy Division’s albums), but refused to release it due to its mediocrity.

Four years later they were back with a new sound, bouncing fabulously into the Madchester scene with their baggy flares, long hair, Reni hats, and autonomy.

The album is based around the Paris student riots of 1968, with guitarist John Squire providing the Jackson Pollock-inspired artwork for the album cover. Whilst most bands write (and wrote) love songs, The Stone Roses wrote about narcissism, political revolution, and drugs, all through an anti-capitalism viewpoint.

You’ll find it all in songs such I Wanna Be Adored, She Bangs The Drums, Shoot You Down, Elizabeth My Dear, and Made Of Stone. Several have a go at Margaret Thatcher, one calls for the end to the monarchy system, and I Am The Resurrection does something else entirely.

For us, Waterfall is the highlight with its excellent lyrics about escaping the drudgery of a working-class existence through drugs. As an album, however, it’s pretty much perfect.

Singer Ian Brown and Squire wrote the exceptional songs, and musically they were powered along by genius drummer Reni (on a different planet with his live performances), affable bassist Mani, and some brilliant producing from John Leckie. Heck, even Manchester United play This Is The One before every match, such is the band’s iconic status.

Waterfall

For us, the total highlight of the album (as exceptional as the rest of the songs are) is Waterfall. This is a beautiful, soaring recording that captures everything that’s brilliant about the band.

The lyrics are evocative and speak of a young woman taking drugs and escaping from the working-class setting she’s stuck in.

Reni’s jazzy, minimalistic drumming complements Squire’s looping guitar riff. Over the top of that are the gorgeous lyrics with Brown’s proclamations matched by Reni’s backing vocals. A perfect song – a perfect record.

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