Well, it couldn’t last forever.
Remember that scene in Wayne’s World where they are going to Gas Works, the super-cool metal bar with sign that was on fire and Meatloaf as the bouncer? When they ask him who’s playing, he tells them “The S****y Beatles.” I’m assuming that he was talking about the Stone Roses.
Rolling Stones said that they could have led another “British Invasion,” but that doesn’t really say anything about them. It sounds less like a type of music than it does a cheap knockoff of Space Invaders. Saying that the band is from Britain and that it “invaded” the United States says absolutely nothing about the musical style. All it tells you is that the singer will have an accent. That’s it. In some ways it is actually a good description. Since it does not set the bar too high (i.e. by not setting a bar) there is little in the way of disappointment. If they were described as British Future Space Dance Rock this album would have been a major let down.
So what genre would best describe The Stone Roses? Generic Crap Rock. There are very few moments where this album is actually interesting, and a lot of parts that could have been interesting were drowned in a sea of reverb. Then, just when you’re thinking, “Well, it is kind of crappy, but at least I know what to expect,” they switch over to a funky jam band. For the last 12 minutes of the album, they are a completely different band, which wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t actually a lot better than the rest of the album. If you think that I’m joking, listen to “I Am the Resurrection” (which Rolling Stone calls “ecstatic”). For the first four minutes it is a generic, repetitive drum beat with some noise over it, then it suddenly switches to a new style as if to say, “HEY! BET YOU WEREN’T EXPECTING THAT! LOLOLOL!”
You can’t fool me, Stone Roses. You are still generic crap rock.
Generally speaking, the album does actually get better the deeper you get, but that doesn’t necessarily preclude it achieving greatness. The very first introduction on “I Wanna Be Adored” seems a little promising, and then all hope plummets as the song opens up. Things start to get a little more interesting (at least at parts, if not for the whole of the song) in “Bye Bye Bad Man,” “Made of Stone” and “Shoot You Down,” but this is followed with the high school romantic comedy anthem, “This is the One.” At the very best, The Stone Roses sound like a band that you see playing at a high school in a movie. At their worst, they sound like the crappy bands that you saw while you were still in high school.
Now, given that this album came out in 1989, there is the thought that it was unique at that time. We’ve had enough generic crap rock between then and now that it sounds even more boring than it normally would. Or perhaps it is one of those moments when you look back a few years later and wonder why you had ever liked something in the first place. Like looking back at pictures of your old hair style.
What’s that? They paved the way for Oasis and 90’s Brit Pop? Oh, well that’s cool. But that doesn’t really make it great, now does it? That’s like saying, “Well, eating 5 pounds of McDonald’s really paved the way for my gastrointestinal issues.” Neither of those are particularly good things. And even if McDonald’s paved the way for you liking a slightly better fast food chain it doesn’t make the food any more palatable. It’s still generic, somewhat boring, and causes severe health issues when consumed in large quantities–much like The Stone Roses.
All jokes aside, it isn’t the worst album that I’ve ever listened to. It just doesn’t do much to push it into the realm of greatness. One of my friends told me that he watched the documentary about the Stone Roses, and that “I Wanna Be Adored” sounded pretty epic. This album is one where how good it is depends on what context it is initially remembered from. If you first hear some of the tracks in a film or on a wicked mix-tape, then you might really like it. More than likely, it holds a nostalgic value for a lot of the reviewers and experts that wrote this. Unfortunately, there is a lot of really good, influential, newer music that may have gotten the shaft due to someone looking back to fond memories of something that really wasn’t that great.
If you want to listen to a selection of tracks go with:
- I Wanna Be Adored
- Made of Stone
- I Am the Resurrection
These will give you an idea of if you think it is worth your time. And, yes, I totally resisted the urge to list my track selections as: