Self-Titled [20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
You’d be forgiven for taking the Stone Roses for granted a bit. They only had one remarkable album (their self-titled debut), released in 1989, at the beginning of alternative rock’s heyday, forcing them to compete with everyone from Depeche Mode to Nirvana.
But thanks to Sony/Legacy Records, the Manchester-based band gets another shot. Because of the infectious, if a bit mopey single “I Want to Be Adored,” the band is technically classified as a one-hit wonder in the U.S. (Can you name another Stone Roses song?) Yet, as the 20th anniversary offering proves, the band certainly deserves a second listen.
The Stone Roses blends strong hooks and dance beats, along with psychedelic and often jangly guitars, putting them at the forefront of the “Madchester Sound” that also carried with it peers like the Happy Mondays, Charlatans UK and the Inspirational Carpets.
Though often overshadowed by the more tabloid-worthy Happy Mondays, the Stone Roses wrote far catchier songs. When the album first came out, Britain’s always bombastic NME magazine declared it “The greatest album of all time,” thereby handicapping the band from the get-go. The Stone Roses signed to Jive/Silvertone Records (which would eventually become the record label of choice for boy bands and pop tarts for most of the 90’s) in the U.S., but they never really achieved the adulation that came after their first record.
Their follow-up (not including some re-released early singles) in 1994, the appropriately-titled Second Coming, was a bit underwhelming in comparison to the tight, original songs that made up Stone Roses. The band fell apart not too much later. The Legacy collection includes a completely remastered UK version of the band’s brilliant self-titled CD, a second CD with 13 extra songs and a final disc of 15 demos, including a previously unreleased song “Pearl Bastard.” There is also a DVD of the band’s music videos and a live show.
The second CD is fairly benign, but the demos and the initial album – sounding better than ever before – are well worth the price and belong in the library of every 30-something. Along with “I Want to Be Adored,” songs like “Waterfall,” “She Bangs the Drum” and “Elephant Stone” have held up remarkably well over the past two decades. The demos sound better than many of the finished albums put out by their peers.
The label is also putting out three other versions of the 20th anniversary collection: a single disc of the remastered album; a Collector’s Edition that features 3 CDs, 3 vinyl LPs, a DVD, book and some prints; as well as a Gatefold Vinyl Edition that comes with a vinyl LP and a 7-inch record of “Pearl Bastard.”