Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Classic Corner #1 - The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses

This is a new chain I am starting, like the 'Songs of a Lifetime', which is quite dormant right now. Here is where I shall showcase, rave about, dissect and eulogise about some classic instances of pure genius in the performing arts, be it theatre, music, film or any other medium. These are examples of sheer brilliance and works far ahead of their that regal, enthrall and stay relevant even today. These shaped the future of their respective art forms and left an indelible mark on society and social consciousness. Some of them were plain difficult to describe, such was force of their beauty, power and effect.

I'll start with one of the most prized possessions in my collection, The Stone Roses' self titled debut album. What a record. British pop music had not heard anything so pristine before these guys came along. I do not want to get into the history of the band and such details, as it would require another post altogether. Just a bit of an intro, though. These four guys teamed up in the mid 80s when British pop/rock music was ruled The Smiths, New Order and The Fall. The Smiths were on the decline and nothing as exciting was in the offing. Then Ian Brown and his mates from Manchester decided to have some fun with their style of light rock/pop guitar driven music. They were to record only one more studio album after this one, 'The Second Coming', before they eventually split up in the early 90s. Their music formed the reference point of loads of modern bands like Oasis, Blur, Lightening Seeds, Embrace and The Verve. Sadly after delivering a near perfect rock/pop album first up the band could never live up to the hype of an encore and the next album, though not bad by any standards, wasn't quite the same. Our loss entirely.

Let’s look at the album then...

The opening drawl on 'I wanna be adored' lets you know that this is something special indeed. When I first heard it, thanks to Brown's hushed Mancunian accented style of singing, I mistook the words to be ' I wanna be a door' (and I couldn't understand why the hell he wanted to be a part of the furniture). And then John's Squire's heavenly guitar riffs hit you...I couldn't care if he wanted to be the wash basin or a toilet, the resonance was just too powerful and the narcissism just too tempting to resist. Oasis tried something similar with 'Listen up', but came nowhere close. This gem is followed up by the holy trinity of 'She bangs the drums', 'Elephant stone' and 'Waterfall'. Well, rock songs dipped in honey. British pop had never had it better than this. When Brown croons, "Burst into heaven...kissing the cotton clouds" on 'Elephant stone', you can almost feel yourself with him 30,000 ft above sea level...sigh! The beauty of multilayer guitars has never been better demonstrated. Then there is the anti-monarchy gem, 'Elizabeth My dear' with the lines "Tear me apart and boil my bones / I'll not rest 'till she's lost her throne / My aim is true, my message is clear / It's curtains for you Elizabeth my dear". It ends with a silenced pistol shot.
Oh, and things are just about to get better...
Then comes the Paris students riots inspired, 'Bye bye badman' and the dark anti violence 'Made of stone', which is another fantastic addition. There were even audacious enough to add a song 'Don't stop', which is in fact the latter played backwards! The album finishes with 2 more beauties, 'This is the one' and the anthemic 'I am the resurrection', the first a powerful rock tune with fantastic guitar work (as usual) and the second presumably about coming out triumphant after facing rejection in love. Genius generally is accompanied by arrogance and 'Resurrection' is ample evidence of that...
I could go on and on about this album. If you don't have it and are a lover of guitar music, well...just die. But a better option would be to go out, buy it and give it a listen. Your world will be a better place to live in. Seriously...

Album: The Stone Roses
Band: The Stone Roses
Year: 1989
Label: Jive
Track listing:
1. I Wanna Be Adored
2. She Bangs The Drums
3. Elephant Stone
4. Waterfall
5. Don't Stop
6. Bye Bye Badman
7. Elizabeth My Dear
8. (Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister
9. Made Of Stone
10. Shoot You Down
11. This Is The One
12. I Am The Resurrection

"So here it is. Yes! Yes! Yes! The best rock album since Revolver? Definitely. Maybe. You don't have to believe that. Just play it from time to time. It gets better and better. Rave on!" -

"Make love to this album, get stoned to this album, start an uprising to this album, change the world to this album. For this album has changed many people's world and a world without it would be a place with slightly less magic." - Matt Pomry, Pop Matters.


Anonymous said...

good review mate, havent heard the other album tho..

Abhishek Chatterjee said...

anon - thanks..'second coming' includes gems like '10 storey love song', 'beggin you' and 'love spreads'...critics were harsh on this one..