Given that this album is 20 years old and has been subject to no small amount of discussion regarding its status as "the best album ever" and whether it deserves that title (it doesn't; what does?), it would seem churlish to talk about the subjective quality of the songs on it. You probably know them, and know whether you love them or not. I loved them passionately 15 years ago, as a 15 year old. But there's been a lot of records between then and now, and I'd never presume to know what my favourite record is these days, let alone the best ever.
So what I will talk about is the remastering. Silvertone & Sony have repackaged the scant amount of material that The Stone Roses produced between 1988 and 1990 in so many ways that many fans of this music quite rightly feel taken advantage of; singles & b-sides compilations (some of them very shoddy), 10th anniversary editions, remix compilations, demo compilations, a version in an eco-friendly recycled card sleeve... but until The Very Best Of in 2002 they never bothered remastering any Stone Roses material.
The remastering on that compilation was good; it added some weight and impact to (early) material that was a little lightweight on CD, that first album floating in a reverb haze with little bass or clarity to anchor it in the real world. Maybe that was part of the appeal of the debut album; on CD at least, it almost seemed like a dream.
The remastering on this edition is, if anything, even better; John Leckie and Ian Brown have talked about putting the bass back in to the CD release that was always on the vinyl, and they've certainly done that; Reni's kickdrum in the opening to I Wanna Be Adored now has some serious impact on your solar plexus if you turn it right up on a good pair of speakers, and Mani's bassline opening to She Bangs The Drums doesn't vanish when the guitars drop in.
But there's also more definition; you can hear the detail of the strings & fingers in that same bassline better, too. Even Ian's vocals are improved; when he sings "I'd love to do it and you know you've always had it coming" unaccompanied in Shoot You Down (possibly the most sonically improved track) he actually does sound angelic, his voice recorded and presented with an exquisitely natural tone. The stop/start guitars at the end of that tune also sound irresistible.
Other moments I've enjoyed more than on the initial CD release include the chugging guitar riff that starts Bye Bye Badman, which now slowly moves across the soundstage from one side to another and back, something I'd never noticed before. Don't Stop has gone from being a backwards indulgence to a truly awesome moment, the added physicality of it suggesting that dub was as much an influence as 60s psychedelia.
People who worry about this kind of thing (I'm one) will be pleased to know that the album hasn't just been brickwalled in terms of dynamic range either; thought it is louder than it was, the songs still have contours - This Is The One is particularly awesome, especially when it gets into its swirling climax.
I doubt the remastering here will be as revelatory as that on the forthcoming Beatles re-releases (the Beatles' master tapes almost certainly sound better than the Roses', and the Roses' initial CD release sounds better than the Beatles', if that make sense), but it's made me enjoy this album more than I have done for probably a decade. Hopefully the b-sides and non-album singles will soon get released on a single CD so they're affordable - as much as I love them, I'm not spending £80-£100 on the deluxe whistles & bells box set.
on 21 November 2003
14 years after its release and this album still sounds as fresh and as it did back then - when baggy trousers ruled the roost and Ian Brown's sideburns were thicker than your average yellow pages.
Call me a sentimental old manc but the last decade of musical history has provided little in the way of inspiration that the Roses self-titled debut did in 89. Even John Squire's bizarre art work seems to surpass the drivel that clogs up today's charts. But then again, this was no ordinary album. In the Pacific Ocean of who's who in the musical world, The Roses rode in on the crest of a tsunami and battered the coast of the British Music scene into submission.
From the opening bars of the arrogant and expectant 'I wanna be adored' to the daring and unbelievable 'I am the Ressurection', The Roses stamped their authority all over the British public in a way no other band had since the Beatles. Sure they were brash and yes they were obnoxious but then again, what's the point in making music if you don't strive to be the very best? And for a time, they were the very best.
This album suggests a maturity well beyond the pre-pubescent testosterone-filled date of its release. While Ian and John laid down a template for success it was the rhythm section of mani and reni that held the key to the group's prowess - perhaps demonstrated in the eternally magnificent 'Waterfall'.
Almost 15 years on and the 'egg' has not be broken - despite an egotistical break up that robbed the world of perhaps the greatest band to grace Albion's Shores, and despite inconsistent rumours of an unilkely reunion, The Roses hold a place in musical history that will forever be 'made of stone'
on 21 July 2004
For me this is the best album there has ever been. Ian Brown's soulful voice is complimented by first rate guitar, bass and drumming (thankyou John Squire, Mani and Remi) that works beautifully. But what sets this album apart is it's lyrics - words and prose that the Gallagher brothers could only dream of coming up with. Classic anthems such as This Is The One and Waterfall provide a more upbeat foil for the murky depths of Sugar Spun Sister, Shoot You Down and Made Of Stone. Brown and Squire even have the audacity to have a pop at the royalty with the short but bittersweet Elizabeth My Dear. And just when you thought the album couldn't get any better, the Roses finish it off with I Am The Ressurection which I feel is quite possibly the best song that's ever been written - a upbeat, dreamy song with some of the most vitriolic lyrics penned.
It's easy to dismiss this album as just more Madchester 'lads' music but, for me, and the millions of other Roses fans it represents so much more. The arrogance found in songs like I Wanna Be Adored is completely merited - The Roses can back it up in every way. This is a fantastic album, and it takes pride of place at the top of my collection.
on 14 August 2009
There's a lot of negative noise about this product here, and I can understand people's gripes: there are a great number of excellent `Collector's Editions' or `Special Editions' that aren't bloated to the extent that this is and, more's to the point, don't come with a similarly bloated price tag. The Collector's Edition of Happy Mondays' `Bummed' is a particularly fine (and appropriate) example. But that said, I've bought this 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition of The Stone Roses debut and do love it - and would highly recommend it to you. It is however most definitely a luxury purchase: what you effectively get is the same content three times - on CD/DVD, vinyl and USB - along with a commemorative book and prints of John Squire's cover art, all wrapped up in a beautifully presented package. It is excessive, and if such excess turns you off then you should opt for one of the other, cheaper editions - or head to your preferred download site and pick off the tracks you want individually.
The album itself is of course a masterwork and doesn't need any further eulogising here. I first bought it on the day it was originally released back in May 1989, along with The Cure's `Disintegration' which was released the same week. I remember going home and listening to `Disintegration' first which, although good, is heavy going to say the least. I then put the Roses' album on and - BAM! - it was like throwing open the windows and letting the sunshine flood in. I was in love from that point on - a love that endures to this day.
The re-master by John Leckie and Ian Brown is the biggest reason to buy this: it's superb. Totally respectful of the original production, it just beefs it up and cleans it up so that the album and collected b-sides and singles sound as fresh as if they were recorded yesterday. If you love these songs, then you should get your hands on these re-mastered versions, whether you choose to buy this or one of the other editions, or download them. (It is a shame that it's only on this premium-priced Collector's Edition that you can get your hands on both the original album and collected B-sides and singles on CD - quite deliberate no doubt, because I'm sure many would have settled for this if it had been available as a discreet package.)
The demos are an interesting curiosity, but in all likelihood you'll listen to them once and then pop them back in the box never to re-emerge. `Pearl Bastard' - the previously unreleased song available here for the first time albeit in demo form - is okay but does sound a bit like `Sugar Spun Sister' which might suggest why it never saw the light of day.
The DVD is a nice addition to the overall package but doesn't offer anything new. You'll probably have seen the Empress Ballroom gig - you get this and a selection of promo videos which are frankly unremarkable. A `nice to have', but you can live without it.
You also get the album, extras and demos on heavy-duty vinyl - and they're also on the lemon-shaped USB along with some of the video content and a selection of ringtones. The main benefit of the USB is that it offers convenience - you don't have to rip the tracks off of the CDs in order to listen to them on your MP3 player - but that's pretty much it. One interesting point to note however: the `Extras' (b-sides/singles) CD contains the 12 inch version of `Elephant Stone', but on the USB you get the 7 inch version. I'm guessing this was a mistake - but I'm quite glad of it, because both versions have their separate merits.
The book that comes as part of the package is very good, but doesn't offer any particularly fresh insight. The contribution from John Leckie is the most interesting because his story isn't as oft told as those of the other contributors. John Robb's intro is fairly typical of these kind of things, and you get the usual stuff from Ian Brown and Mani, whilst Reni provides a poem and some art. John Squire is painfully conspicuous by his absence. The book also includes contributions from 'famous' names such as Noel Gallagher etc talking about their love of the Roses and how they were influenced by them. Some of these appear to be new, whilst some old, but all quite interesting.
So, overall I would say that whilst the constituent elements of the package don't individually offer anything particularly new/desirable (the re-master aside), the whole package does amount to more than the sum of its parts and provides a monolithic and suitably respectful monument to what is one of the greatest albums ever recorded. It is a luxury though, so I would suggest to anyone who doesn't want to part with the cash to buy the standard edition of the re-mastered album and download the singles/b-sides. However if you're as daft as me and have a deep and abiding love for the Stone Roses, then I would heartily recommend this to you.
Right, I'd better start saving now for whatever Silvertone are planning for the 25th anniversary...
on 14 May 2014
Great price for quality Vinyl music from a Band I knew a little about from a documentary I saw here in the United States.
I didn't have the ability prior to technology such as ITunes , etc....
I've since ordered an amazing USB briefcase style turntable from the UK, and can't wait for my pre order purchase of The The box set to arrive. Matt has been a favorite since 1983 , graduating from high school " Soul Mining " simply changed my life ! The way I viewed music and opened my mind and even made me realize that I don't care if others "approve "of my taste in music , it's personal and Matt spoke what I was thinking loud n clear !
I can't wait to visit England. Plan to travel there with my 9 year old daughter in the next 2 years. Waiting until we can afford to fly Virgin First Class and stay 3 or 4 weeks.
I want to really experience London and the music and art scene as well as meet as many people as I can. I think people in England are simply nicest people I've ever been around. Gorgeous ladies with brilliant minds as well , and the guys are easy going and easy to share a pint with and I love hearing talk of life there , makes me wish I could live there ! It would be a dream come true. I'm a single Dad , 49 years old , soccer fan and Osborne being surname I'm sure my roots are there. I'll pray about it , save money and further education in hopes of landing possibly a position for a few years and work , travel and afford my daughter the chance to see the world and not just South Carolina. If it's God's plan , we will achieve our goal , prayer and hard work us the key.
Best wishes to all who read this in UK. Look out Punk Rogers ( my nickname ) is coming to town. Have a pint and billiard table ready and let's all have a great time !
on 19 July 2003
This album sounds as amazing today as it did the first time I ever heard it playing in my mate's mustard coloured Mini all those years ago. This album is timeless, it was ahead of its time then and every time I play it now, it stills sounds so fresh. This album was and still is one of the few albums I own that I can say that every song is worth 5 stars.
Things kick off with I Wanna be Adored, which quietly rises out of your speakers before building up into a rip roaring crescendo that leaves you with no doubt that you also want to be adored and probably soon will be. Any doubts at all about your imminent new found hero worship are dispelled quickly when the opening lyrics of She Bangs The Drums are delivered with the arrogance and cocky swagger that was The Stone Roses set against timeless melodies that initially leave you unsure where the choruses are. Waterfall is just a beautiful song that is immediately accessible but before you get too pleased with yourself, Don't Stop comes along and jolts you out of your happy little world and reminds you just why these guys were set to be the biggest thing the world has ever seen. Bye Bye Badman is the most poignant call to arms song that I've ever heard and back in the late 80's would have brought side A to a mouth watering, lemon juice in your eyes storming close.
Elizabeth My Dear, sung to the tune of Scarborough Fair, lasts barely a minute, and it's fairly clear where the boys stand on the monarchy, with Squire's guitar letting go a `bullet' as the song fades and segues into Sugar Spun Sister which, quite frankly is one of the happiest, most glorious songs ever written. Made Of Stone was the single that initially just blew me away and made me realise that my days of being a heavy metal rebel were numbered. I'd discovered melodies and there was no turning back. Shoot You Down, is a chill out classic and shows no sign of what is to come, mainly a blistering, 2 track tour de force of musical excellence. This Is The One is so completely brilliant it would be the `one'. Except it isn't, because I Am The Resurrection is. 8 minutes of musical heaven. It takes 3 verses until the chorus comes in and by the time it does your champing at the bit to let it scream out of your lungs as loud and as powerful as you can. The ultimate feel good break up song, you'll never feel better after screaming out - "you're a no one, nowhere washed up baby who'd look better dead". It fades out then resurrects itself before fading away for good, leaving all concerned with the knowledge that they rock, you rock and everyone and everything else really doesn't matter.
Put simply, this album spoke to a generation (and still does). Taking the acid and psychedelic influences of the era, merge them with classic sounding riffs that the likes of The Byrds wouldn't be ashamed of and add in the angst and snarl of a band from a city called Manchester that was fast growing in stature and confidence, and you get the Stone Roses seminal début.
In the fickle and at times disposable music era we now live in, the term 'classic album' is often over used and consequently under valued. However, this genuine classic album from almost two decades ago is moving, atmospheric, uplifting, Anthemic, delicate and above all an essential inclusion in anybody's collection. Just take a glance at the track listing. Waterfall and She Bangs the Drums say it all for us that can't find the words ourselves, This is the one, Made of stone, I Wanna be adored, Shoot you down and I am The Resurrection are all unforgettable classics.
In my humble opinion the début self titled album by the Stone Roses is without doubt a landmark album in British music history, the sheer quality of which becomes more apparent with every listen, and with every year that passes. Noel Gallagher has gone on record as stating that without the Stone Roses there would not have been Oasis, but the influence of the Stone Roses and this album goes much farther than that. The number of bands influenced by this band is almost limitless, and the quality of this album is timeless.
This album will for the rest of my life be in my life, a postcard from the past that is still relevant to me today. I hope you buy this great album especially if it is for the first time, as you are about to embark upon a musical discovery that puts many many other bands into perspective as pale imitators of the art.
P.S. John squire is a guitar genius. Enjoy.
on 30 May 2001
A great band?Perhaps.But what makes a great band?Million selling albums, world recognition,looks, attitudes, fashion, longevity.Maybe all of them, maybe some, maybe none. A great album?Perhaps.But what makes a great album?Million selling, world recognition, lyrics, attitudes, fashion. You get the picture.It's all about personal opinions and preferences.This album, for me, flicks my switch like no other can.It is immense in every way; lyrically, rythmically, originality and
purity.Squires often commented that it was 'over-engineered' and not as raw as he would have liked, but anything else and it wouldn't have been this album.Seeing them in '95 during the Second Coming tour was a big disappointment- no Reni, Ian struggling to sing live as always.The magic had simply gone but I was compelled to see them and fulfill a recurring dream. I have a copy of it at home, at work and in the car. Of the CD's I own I always end up listening to this whether it's my first choice of the day or third. It just sounds like nothing before and, alas, nothing since yet to this day it still manages to capture and deliver everything I crave in a musical stimulant. I dissolve in it completely without becoming saturated with boredom which seems to happen to me with so many of my other albums. Nothing comes close. Listening to The Jesus and Mary Chains' "Darklands" puts them in them in the race but that's it. Quite simply a musical masterpiece which I feel everyone should own and keep in a good enough condition so they can play it to their grand-kids. I will to mine. A great band? Perhaps. A great album? The best. In my opinion.
on 22 January 2001
From the age of 14 to the age of about 20 I was a die-hard indie kid, and this album, it seemed to me (perhaps alongside The Queen is Dead) was the greatest ever made and the greatest ever likely to be made. Since then I've come to realise how narrow my musical horizons were, and to discover that many other fantastic bands have made albums I would have to consider seriously before awarding my personal golden tennis racket for the best single record of all time - the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Love (if you've never heard 'Forever Changes' this unfortunate situation requires immediate attention), Bob Dylan, Radiohead and many others, some of which I doubtless haven't discovered yet.
During this 'awakening' many of my old indie albums came to seem lightweight and ephemeral stuff, and have been whisked off, not without a nostalgic pang, to find themselves new homes. A few of them, however, though I listen to them much less frequently, still seem to me now as glorious as they did when I first became acquainted with them. Pills'n'thrills is one. Doolittle is another. The Smiths, My Bloody Valentine and Talking Heads are all as good as I used to think they were.
This album, however, is in a category of its own. These days I probably only play it three or four times a year. But each time I do it seems to exceed my wildest expectations, to reveal new depths, to scale new heights. When I put this on, I think, quite simply, 'sod the beatles, sod the Rolling Stones, sod everyone else who ever made a record, frankly - this is the best rock record that has ever been made'. Stand, during the closing minutes of I am the Resurrection, and tell me that isn't true.
on 18 June 2014
First, the good stuff. The music on this album is still first rate, a 6-star album without a doubt. The cover artwork is also faithfully reproduced.
Everything else is terrible. The sound, What did they do to make this so flat sounding. No more punch in the guitars, "She Bangs The Drums" merely whimpers onto the speakers, instead of crashing guitars.
The mix here sounds totally different to what I grew up listening to. It has been remastered completely flat, no bite, no dymanics, its weak and completely changes your engagement with the music.
It is also cut very very quiet indeed, which means to get any sort of sonics out of it you really have to ramp up the volume, which means more surface noise. I was close to 0db on my amp and beyond to get anything out it, whereas my normal listening is around -11db.
This really cannot be recommended. The 1989 CD is much better than this. Do yourself a favour, track down a 1989/1990 Silvertone original vinyl pressing. Yes, it will cost you about £10-15 more, but its miles better than this very weak effort.
Money should be no object in enjoying this, one of the best albums of all time, so don't baulk at the price of a 2nd hand original, as it will pay you back time and again over this charlatan.