#319: The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
I don’t remember exactly how I became obsessed with this record three years ago, but I did. Now that I think about it, it was surely a Spotify suggestion, since I’ve been obsessed with Brit bands (Blur-Oasis-MSP) since 2016. God, the Spotify algorithm really has my number, doesn’t it?
Why can’t I get enough of those Brits, anyway? All my friends make fun of me for it. “Karla, Oasis’ music is not cool. They are not good looking. They are probably not even good people. Why must you torture us at parties so?”
Well, if nostalgia for the British Invasion is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.
Something about the sound of Brit bands tricks me into thinking they’re all philosophers playing their music from atop a mountain or something. No. Just look at the Stone Roses’ TV debut, where the power goes out midway through their song “Made of Stone” and lead singer Ian Brown throws a pathetic little hissy fit. It’s incredible. I only watched that video for the first time recently, and it recontextualized the Stone Roses for me entirely.
Hissy fits notwithstanding, the Stone Roses are no joke. There’s an artful magical Sixties thing happening on this record, even though it was released in 1989. It’s whatever effect they’ve applied to John Squire’s guitar, which is whipped into a textured arpeggio on “Waterfall” then turned around and twisted inside out “Don’t Stop.” Some of the songs trick you into thinking they really are Sixties relics, like “Bye Bye Bad Man.” But in other ways, that warm jet guitar is vividly futuristic. “Shoot You Down” makes me feel like I’m living in a Monet painting.
At the same time, I should have known they were bastards. “I Wanna Be Adored” is all about their willingness to sell out, with the bassline suggestively low and high-pitched guitars shivering above it. “I Am the Resurrection” is about as blasphemous as a mad lad can get — made even better because it was based on the Beatles’ “Taxman.”
(And yet you can bet on the fact that they were also heartthrobs. “She Bangs The Drums” made me wish I played the drums, “Elizabeth My Dear” sounded like it was written by hobbits, and “(Song for My) Sugar Spun Sister” has a great line about members of Parliament tripping on glue.)
It wouldn’t be a great Brit album without an anthem. “This is The One” is so anthemic that they play it before Manchester United soccer games. It doesn’t matter what “the one” is. “The one” is most important thing that will ever happen to you, the one that will change everything.
I don’t remember how I became obsessed with this record. I wasn’t an OG fan, and I’m not the target audience. That’s true of a lot of the artists that I love. And yet, and yet, and yet … this is the one.
Grooviest Track: “Fool’s Gold” is a club song, with little more than a bass and a drum to go on. A mad lad club song!