# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Stone Roses - Stone Roses

  by Jonjo McNeill

published: 28 / 7 / 2009

Stone Roses - Stone Roses
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In our Re:View column, in which our writers look back at albums from the past, Jonjo McNeill looks at the Stone Roses' massively popular and inflential debut album, and its just released remastered twentieth anniversary edition

An apocalyptic locomotive rumbles towards me. Slowly it gets louder and nearer. Soon enough I can hear its jangling wheels. Then the jangles crystallise into chimes. Beautiful guitar chimes. The train is a chugging behemoth of a bassline, its rhythmic shuffling a heavenly hi-hat and the sound of the bass drum of its wheels crashing off the snare drum tracks getting louder, and louder, and louder still. We're just over 60 seconds into 'I Wanna Be Adored', the Stone Roses opener to end all Stone Roses' openers (things you should know about the Stone Roses number One - always the opening tune of their live set) and I'm already making nonsensical metaphors based around trains. But bear (bare?) with me, as this is something that happens only when music connects with me on the very base level (some call it the soul) - you'll know that feeling when the hairs on your arm start to stick up whilst you're not being electrocuted I'm sure. This album was released in 1989. And I've loved it ever since, or rather since 1995 when I first heard it. Until then I'd known of the Stone Roses but my age meant I missed them by a whisker. I remember reading the news they'd split up on the day I finished some end of year exams - it was the first time I heard something, anything about them. Cue six weeks later and I was starting a new year with a new friend, a lad from Manchester. I'm not, for the record, making this up. Anyway this lad had a tape of 'The Stone Roses' in his car. I found this out after asking him who we were listening to about 3 seconds into this incredible - but until then unheard by me - album. That day was the day I truly fell in love with music. I'd never heard or felt anything like this. I'd loved Oasis like many my age. They made me want to shout along to every word. The Stone Roses did the same thing. But this album I was hearing also made me want to sit by myself with headphones, listening to every note and cherishing them all. It made me want to learn to play a guitar so I could make sounds like that, or try to, and fail to. It inspired a multitude of feelings, all at the same ridiculous time. When I first heard 'Waterfall' I honestly wasn't sure what I was hearing. Six years late but here was the first band I'd heard that sounded so unique and important. So very important. Without even delving into any of their history (of which I assure you I have no intention) I knew there and then in that car that this band meant something rather large to me. And for the first time in my life, I didn't mind if nobody else loved them - it was enough that I knew of them, I could listen to them. But it turns out almost everyone else did anyway. Eventually if not then. I, shortly after hearing this tape, followed in the ancient and oft-forgotten tradition of buying the record in a shop. Hearing it on CD for the first time was like hearing it for the first time again. Only somehow it was even better. I say somehow but obviously it was the difference between a scratchy tape in a Ford Escort stereo and digital technology. I could now hear what a beautifully produced record it was for the first time. Sonically, melodically and thematically this album was the greatest thing my teenage ears had heard. For weeks and months it never went unnoticed and unlistened. 'Made Of Stone' was another which was like some kind of modern hymn. They had a way of sounding both massive, important and unstoppable at the same time as understating themselves; the glistening sounds of John Squire's heavily effected, beautifully played guitar arpeggios twisting into psychedelic acid guitar solos. Alan 'Reni' Wren's hi hat made dancing to a guitar band a possibility, his bass drumming ensured it was an absolute necessity. Gary 'Mani' Mountfield's bass is phenomenal, a style all of his own but worthy of anyone, organically grown around Reni's drumming, farmed together and as a result the perfect compliment to each other and Squire. And Ian Brown, the most hushed and brash vocalist I'd ever heard, was an almost biblical figure to me back then. Long before I'd seen what he looked like or heard him speak I already had a feeling he was Jesus. This was very possibly to do with - in my mind - the greatest album closer ever; 'I am The Resurrection'. "I am the Resurrection, and I am the light - I couldn't ever bring myself to hate you as I'd like," bellowed Brown in the defining moment of an album composed of defining moments. I've talked about how I felt about this album back then as I listen to the newly remastered version of the album 14 years later. The same new perspective I gained when I first traded that C90 (I forgot to mention that my mate's cassette cut off the thundering epic instrumental outro - not quite living up to Ian Brown's ideal of fitting on one side of a tape) in for that first CD is evident again now that Brown and producer John Leckie have painstakingly remastered every last little bit of it to celebrate its 20th - TWENTIETH! - birthday. Whilst time has made this record familiar - I've never really went very long without hearing at least half of it - there is a new sparkle to the songs now. 'This Is The One' gleams and gallops more than it did and 'She Bangs The Drums' pans and peaks that little bit clearer. It's like the whole thing is clearer in fact. The original master had a beautiful, I always thought intended, dampening on it. This version clears it up a little. It does sound fantastic, and I'd recommend anyone at least hear it. It was always a great record, a classic in many's eyes. That remains, only now it's that shiny wee bit lovelier. So there we have a re:view of a 1989 album and a short review of it's 2009 ancestor. If you're new to the Stone Roses then you don't need to know anything else about them until you know this album inside out, and to be honest it doesn't matter if you start with this or the original. But leave the rest of 'The Stone Roses' until later, so you keep wondering if they were this incredible again. Keep wondering until you're ready to find out. They will be legends in your ears if you just do that.

Track Listing:-

Picture Gallery:-
Stone Roses - Stone Roses

Stone Roses - Stone Roses

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