on 21 February 2006
You just can't win with critics can you. When this came out they pretty much gave it a right old pasting, laying into John Squire for being a self indulgent fretw***** with a Led Zep fixation. Then again, they would've slagged the Roses off if they'd come out with something similar to their debut.
Granted, there are strong echoes of Jimmy Page here but who cares? It seems it's OK to rip off The Beatles, the Stones, The Who and The Kinks but a hard rock band...God forbid!!! Anyway, this is generally a damn good album and had it been the Roses debut or by any of their contemporaries it would've been been much better received.
on 15 September 2005
The album cover looks like an oil streaked patchwork. A girl's face is visible, as is the 'S' in the font of their previous album title, a black and white rose and a clock (it had been 5 years since their last album). Stood out from all this murkiness is a cherub with a cigarette in its' mouth, as good a symbol as a stone rose of the meeting of assured toughness and wide eyed romantic optimism.
There are similarities between this and Oasis's album 'Be Here Now'. Both had very high expectations. Both begin with a long, meandering and grandiose song complete with experimental effects. Both contain songs with folk elements ('Your star will shine' and 'Tightrope' on Second Coming and 'Fade in and out' on 'Be Here Now'). Both have been seen by some as the result of too much money and other things going to the bands heads.
Indie guitar bands are now more common-place and no other album since `Be Here Now' has had such expectations.
On 'Breaking into heaven', glimpses of music peek through the sound of running water and tribal drums and squeaks. This runs into a very memorable piece of instrumentation that is repeated at the end of the song. In between, Ian Brown tells us a story. When he starts singing, he does so like a sage, carrying on from his all knowing gaze in 'Fool's Gold' and 'What the world is waiting for' from 4 years previously. Some of the guitar work actually reminded me of medieval music and the effect is that this song, and much of the album, weaves a grand, mysterious myth that is one of my favourite songs.
`Driving South' sounds like hard rock from the 70s however it also has the sound of a modem at the end.
`Ten storey love song' sounds the most familiar to their pretty 3 minute pop/rock songs such as `Sally cinnamon', `She bangs the drums and `Waterfall'. It begins and ends with the sense of myth and mystery surrounding `Breaking to heaven'. It was guaranteed to be a single.
`Daybreak' is a jam/funk that should not be under-estimated. The timing and instrumentation is sublime: `From Atlanta, Georgia to Moss Side, Manchester. Everyone ready, so, so willing and able yeah yeah yeah.' I love this song.
`Your star will shine' is a beautiful folk-type acoustic song, swirling with reverberations and with a dark twist at the end. Ian Brown softly howls `All through the night I'll watch the sky'.
`Straight to the man', written by Ian Brown, may sound more lightweight than much of the rest of the album, however it is similar to the relaxed feel as `Daybreak', `Something burning' or `One love'. It's good to have a bit of easy going funk before the intensity of `Begging you'.
Like `Fool's gold', `Begging you' is the dance/rock track that would suit being played in clubs.
`Tightrope' is an acoustic song like `Your star will shine' however `Tightrope' is less jangle-y and features harmonies and the memorable lyrics : 'Are we etched in stone or just scratched in the sand waiting for the waves to come and reclaim the land?'
Like `Driving South' , `Good Times', `Tears' and `How do you sleep' see John Squire really unleash his guitar-work, however some of the lyrics of these 3 can arguably sound a bit cliché-d and middle of the road. e.g. `Good times baby this is the time I need to know that your love is mine' and `How do you sleep and keep the dogs at bay' and the whole of `Tears'. Some of the choruses seem to last as long as whole songs. `I've seen your severed head at a banquet for the dead', though, is inspired. They have some quirkiness, though, and give the album the feel of sitting in a bar reminiscing about old times. They are a detour before the great finale `Love spreads'.
`Love spreads' sounds a bit like `Driving South' but, after Begging You, it is also the track that would most suit a club. It features the memorable ending: 'I have a dream, I've seen the light, don't put it out 'cos she's alright, yeah she's my sister'.
Track 90 sounds like a drunken improvisation built around 'They're coming to take me away'. I like it but it adds fuel to anyone who thinks that they threw away their future.
Personally, I think that The Stone Roses are one of those bands who are so talented that they look around and can't see anyone who understand what they've actually done, let alone can hope to achieve it. Other bands can mimic their sound but they can't mimic the uniqueness that was going on in their heads, that fizzing magic of 4 lads having a laugh. George Harrison once said that that Monty Python took over where The Beatles left off. Liam Gallagher said he wanted to be a rock star when he saw Ian Brown and Oasis seemed to take over where The Stone Roses left off. I think that, to quote Alexander the great, The Stone Roses wept because saw that they had no (musical) worlds left to conquer. It's true that they didn't try every type of music but other well known bands make a career on one type of song.
Their first album might have seemed good at the time but the songs were often slow to get going and the instrumentation and production was nowhere near as good as 'Second Coming'. Their first album also didn't contain some of their great pop songs such as 'Mersey Pardise' (although 'Sugar spun sister' ,in particular, was great.) 'Second Coming' manages to strike the perfect balance between tightness and looseness.
The `Second Coming' seems less confrontational and more confident. Instead of saying that he is the resurrection, Ian Brown says that his sister is the messiah on `Love spreads'. `Second Coming' was made at a time when cities like Manchester were going through regenerations. The Stone Roses themselves were in Wales when they recorded this so there is none of the screeching industrial sound of `I wanna be adored'. There is room for some folk songs.
Along with The Charlatans `Us and us only' this is an album seemingly inspired by the late 60s/early 70s (and probably a bit of progressive rock with `Breaking into heaven'), mixed with dance music and a 1990s twist. It might seem that the much of the second half (and Straight to the man') is less pretty than the first half but interesting albums aren't necessarily made by making 12 songs desperate to impress you. I like to think of `Breaking into heaven' as the template for the album- a montage of musical styles, twists, loops, jams, funks. The fact that there wasn't a full second coming for the band, despite some uncompromisingly, irony-free, good songs in the old rock tradition, only adds to its' myth and mystery. Even the 'flaws' add character in retrospect. This is the work of some clever minds (John Squire primarily wrote the songs) and it is thankfully free of angst and social commentary. This kind of album wasn't even bettered in the 60s and 70s because The Stone Roses also added dance and love and have an uncommon intelligence, funkiness, senstivity and quiet, assured Manchester sense of cool. It's an album that really seems to have grown on its own terms, separate from the fashions of Britpop. This is a very good album of hard rock and shining beauty.
on 23 August 2004
I can remember first purchasing this album about 7 years ago. With being converted to a Stone Roses fan quite late in life (after they had split) i had only heard the first album and expected the Second Coming to follow suit. I rushed home, put it on my stereo and my first impression was "What the hell is this?!! Jungle noises, water trickling, percussive tribal beats?!! The store i purchased it from must have put the wrong CD in case!!!". I flicked through a few tracks and heard Ian Browns unmistakable voice realising it was the right CD and decided i wasnt going to like the album...... and chucked it to the back of my collection!!
A few months passed and i decided to give the album another go, this time in my car when i was driving (i always find listening to an album whilst driving the litmus test for any album!!) and i gradually started to get into it, after a few months or so i was totally hooked (line and sinker - bad pun, sorry!!!). I realised how brilliant Squires guitar work was and that the Stone Roses had come back in style, matured and grown a bigger pair of u-know-whats!!! The media slated it and some of the fans, so what?!!! They raised their sound to a higher plateau and altho it isnt entirely original it is distinctly Stone Roses at another peak, its a grossly misunderstood album!!! If you like superb guitar playing with a great rhythm section and a voice that cant be mistaken (cant say its great, sorry Ian!!!) Then this is a deffo buy!!!! It contains possibly the greatest guitar work from any british guitarist of the 90's, but on the down side it isnt very consistant. There is a couple of not-so-great songs on it that seem more like B-sides.
on 30 December 2004
I wasn't really into the Roses when I bought this album; it was recommended to me by a few friends who were big fans. After listening to this album it gave me a new definition of perfection. If anyone has heard the Roses live you will realise that Ian Brown is not a good singer at all, as for the rest of the band, especially john Squire there can be no flaws. The album has been perfectly produced and mastered. Every guitar part in a song (and there are usually 3 guitars at the same time) has been carefully layered as to not interfere with the rest of the song but still there to be heard, Breaking into Heaven is a perfect example. Other songs such as Tears and Love spreads are amazing pieces of music just going to show how much of a technical genius Squire is on the guitar .In my opinion this album surpasses the first but only from a technical point of view and that's where I think most Roses fans are split, those who admire Brown and those who admire Squire. Second Coming is a guitar masterpiece, but doesn't have the flowing simplicity or catchy lyrics as the first album and therefore disappointed some people. In all honesty I cant believe why early Roses fans shunned this album, musically it's brilliant, Ian Brown is still great in it but this album id say is more about the music, simple, flowing bass lines, amazing guitar riffs and solo's and perfect rhythmic drum beats, what more can you ask for, apart from asking Ian Brown to sing properly live!
on 3 October 2006
I say worth the wait, not for the 5 years between the debut and its release but the 11 years since then that it has taken for the alternative rock scene to catch up.
A recent revisit to this album made me realise that it is only now that this album can fully be appreciated and understood. The new wave of hopefuls such as Kasabian, Razorlight or the Futureheads, with their 5 star album reviews sadly fall short of this offering, play this album and you will soon realise that these new age offerings are sadly lacking, probably due to the saturation of an alternative scene which is becoming all too similar. The stone roses pushed boundaries, created new music, which if not fully appreciated then, is now unfortunately sadly missed.
on 10 April 2009
This was my favourite cd of the 90's. No one has matched the Stone roses debut in 20 years now, and this cd didnt either BUT...
tears ...the way Ian's voice cracks near the end: beautiful;
10 story Love song ... most similar to the debut, therefore genius;
Love Spreads ...massive massive chorus;
How Do Sleep? ...fantastic song to sing about any enemies you may have acrued over the years;
Tightrope ... beautiful acoustic feel and harmonies;
Straight to the Man...I always thought of this as the Roses do the Happy Mondays;
Your star will shine..bittersweet majesty;
Daybreak..brilliant rhythm track;
Driving south/ good times great songs despite too much blues guitar for me;
Breaking into heaven...could have beeen the best song of alltime if they'd included the chorus a few more times.
Begging you...caustic guitar driven dance,
Flawed, yes, but so much greatness here.
on 13 March 2016
I almost cried when i heard love spreads, played to me down the phone by a friend who had taped radio one. (Younger views do ask...). When the album came, the boys had become men and so had I. The music was in sync with my life and was perfect. And now as the roses have secured history, their "white album" should be enjoyed and savoured with its deeper, darker flavours as their lighter, more glistening entrance