The Stone Roses are one of the biggest and most idolised bands to ever come out of this country and that is mostly in part to this debut album they released in 1989. The Manchester music scene desperately needed a hero after the split of The Smiths and The Stone Roses felt they could fill that void. Stand alone single ‘Sally Cinnamon’ became a sensation and set people up very nicely for a following album, what came was out of everyone’s wildest dreams and it soared the band to global fame, creating a new image, a new sound, and a new platform for neutrals to join. The Spike Island gig of May 1990 is often regarded as one of the most memorable and groundbreaking shows of all time, alongside Oasis’ Knebworth shows and The Beatles’ stints at Shea Stadium, and all of this delirium had come from one solitary album.
I Wanna Be Adored – 11/10:
The best intro to a song you will ever hear in your life, if anybody tries to tell you differently then please ignore them because no matter what they pick, it won’t trump the opening 1 minute and 41 seconds of this song. Once Ian Brown kicks in vocally he utilises the brilliance of the instrumental and rides the wave of psychedelic passion created by John Squire’s guitar and sings some of the most memorable lyrics of a generation. “I don’t have to sell my soul, he’s already in me” may not be D.H. Lawrence level of wordsmith but it sticks with you and is a line you’ll never forget. The whole aurora of the song is just magnificent and the memories it brings back for me personally will last a lifetime thanks to those Etihad gigs in June 2016. Simply the greatest way to start an album, bar none.
She Bangs The Drums – 10/10:
To move into this after what we hear previously is just incredible and for me this is the Stone Roses track which best demonstrates the magnanimous talents of all instrument playing members of the band. The bass riff Mani gives us is as memorable as a stunning guitar solo and has everyone swaying around, John Squire’s guitar riff is fast, energetic and sounds modern even today, truly a talent way ahead of his time. As for the drums from Reni, they had to be brilliant didn’t they, I mean just look at the song title. It is so uplifting to listen to when all the cogs come together and say what you like about Ian Brown, he does a good job on this and can never fail to get a packed out crowd singing every word to this song.
Waterfall – 10/10:
Soft and passionate from Ian Brown in his whispering style alongside yet another staggeringly good instrumental, arguably one of the best on the album from top to bottom. The drum beat is steady yet technical and always mixes up the sound, keeping everything fresh. Mani provides us with an iconic bass riff which sticks out so well on a song like this, despite the glory of Squire’s guitar riff which sounds like it’s been crafted by an angel. The solo is just great, nothing too silly or unnecessary it is just a great way to end the song, as the Roses do so well.
Don’t Stop – 8/10:
A very clever follow up from Waterfall as it almost remixes the riff from it and crafts a mesh of sounds together which slowly fade into the tune of this song here and it is very cleverly executed. Now understand me when I say that although this may be the weakest song on the album it doesn’t mean it is a weak song, it just means it doesn’t weigh up well compared to the others on this album, most of which are classics of the British music industry. My favourite part of this song is when Ian starts singing and sounds very stop/start in an almost robotic way, it fits the bizarre aspects of the instrumental well.
Bye Bye Badman – 9/10:
This song is much more of a laid back one than previous hits, mainly due to the steady riff played by John Squire which no longer becomes the standout of the band; instead we get a more balanced sound and get to hear everything else just as clear. Ian won’t dazzle you vocally on this song, or any song for that matter, but what he will do is fit the style of the song and become somewhat of an instrument to contribute to the band fantastically. This is a great song with a really cool bridge and a raw talent on show from all involved.
Elizabeth My Dear – 8.5/10:
53 seconds long, this one is hardly an epic but it is soft on the ears and very easy-listening. The acoustic guitar playing of John Squire is something to behold and it puts a smile on your face, the reason it isn’t a higher rating is simply down to the quality, or should I say lack of, of the vocals by Ian Brown which are exposed in a song this quiet and slow. With that being said it is still thoroughly enjoyable and one which makes the setlist in their live shows as a result. A good set up for the next song.
(Song For My) Sugar Spin Sister – 9/10:
This song would be 10/10, but it is something about Ian’s voice in the verses which irritates me ever so slightly. Everything else is absolutely incredible and Ian himself does a far better job in the chorus where he chirps up and rides that metaphorical wave once again that is delivered by the instrumental. Reni’s drums steal the show here as he really sets the tone for the instrumental and does the ultimate drummer job of keeping it all together. Squire keeps it tight and occasionally throws in a couple of beauties in his riff, the bridge is bloody fantastic for that. Great stuff.
Made Of Stone – 11/10:
A real contender for the best song on the album, it provides an atmosphere like no other, particularly in that quite brilliant chorus which is built up fantastically within the track’s entirety. The riff at the start is enough to give you goosebumps when it is isolated and introduces the song with real effect. Lyrically it is one of their better songs too even if some of the words do seem a bit pointless, it all weaves together and makes for a very pleasant listen and complete delirium within the masses of people who either see it live or have it in their playlists. Squire’s guitar solo knocks it out the park and the instrumental on the bridge as a whole works brilliantly in a way only The Stone Roses can pull off with that much personality. Blinder of a tune.
Shoot You Down – 10/10:
This is just so cool, I love this song to the moon and back even if vocally it is immensely simple, the attitude in it and the instrumental make it all worthwhile. It has a very subtle psychedelic nature about it with all the minor effects added to the instruments and it just sways at a constant for the whole song, it’s just absolute class and even if it isn’t technically one of their best hits, it is one which I have really struggled to let go of and that is the thing with these Stone Roses songs, they grip onto you and never leave you alone, but you’re eternally grateful for them in the end.
This Is The One – 11/10:
Even if it is a song which is associated with Manchester United, my mortal enemies, this is a song which really does capture your imagination. It’s influence is felt far and wide and that’s not just because of the bloody incredible progression of the instrumental and the slick guitar riff, it’s also because of the power in which the vocals are delivered by Ian Brown, getting louder and louder each time he says it and really riding the wave of emotion the song brings. It will be a regular feature on my desert island discs feature I am sure of it, and that is a testament to the brilliance of this as a song. It starts with a bang and never once disappoints you, genius.
I Am The Resurrection – 11/10:
As soon as you hear that first hit of the drum you already know, that is a special skill to have on a song and it is something The Stone Roses do better than almost anyone. Lyrically it is the best song on the album, musically it is right up there too and it is, other than Fools Gold, their biggest and most well-known one. The three verse build-up to that rip-roaring chorus is special, you can feel the song picking up with every strike of a chord and every word being sung. Once it does hit it is infectious, raising your arms aloft and bellowing out those infamous words: “I am the resurrection and I am the life”. Stunning doesn’t even come close to describing it and it is right up there with the best songs ever to be written. Let’s not forget that absolutely staggering instrumental which lasts about four minutes but every single second is absolute gold dust, from Mani’s funky bass to the rapid strumming of John Squire and the shake of those Ian Brown tambourines.
Fools Gold – 10/10:
The tune that everyone knows and loves from the Roses and that’s down largely to the brilliance of that John Squire riff. It created a disco indie sound, something which no band had even come close to replicating until The Stone Roses came along and it had the world alike up on it’s feet dancing away. At just under 10 minutes long it is understandable as to why people may skip this song about half way through in today’s climate but given the influence it possesses and the sheer genius of it at the time, it can’t be given a rating any lower than the perfect 10/10. It’s also the song that was used on This Is England and therefore created a new wave of younger Stone Roses fans.
Overall – 10/10:
The term ‘legendary’ thrown about an awful lot nowadays, but this album truly defines what a legendary album should be. It has a unique sound, the ability to sell, talent in abundance and above all it has memorable tunes, from Fools Gold to I Wanna Be Adored, this thing is just stacked with classic British indie anthems. It is unfortunate that they couldn’t follow on from this album with quite as much efficiency but the fact that they have such a standout place in the music industry from just one truly brilliant release and another okay release says all you need to know about these boys, they’re incredible and this album takes some topping.