12 May 2016

The Stone Roses' First New Music In Twenty Years - Is It Any Good?

The Stone Roses are one of those bands that, for reasons beyond our comprehension, warrant much more of a fuss than any new artists in the world today. Since their 2012 reunion, they've done very little besides a few shows, and tonight's All For One was their first new music since the frankly unlistenable Second Coming album. Social media lit up, as it was unveiled at twenty hundred hours on both Radio 1, Radio X and Spotify, erupting with opinion on the Roses' return. Seeing as this is my blog, here's mine regarding the new single, All For One.

All For One is essentially a very formulaic classic Stone Roses song which kinda works as a face value indie pop song, with the big guitar tones that sound kinda like The Black Keys' on El Camino (which is really no bad thing) being the main focal point. In fact, the guitars are a bit of a delight, with a brilliant solo at the end and really, and seeing as this was never gonna be, y'know, a highly technical, challenging work of art, they make it a pretty satisfying listen all the way through. The tune's pretty solid, I'll definitely give them that.

But the yin to the yang of John Squire's pretty damn fruity guitar playing is Ian Brown's vocals, which are even more breathy and characterless than they were on Second Coming. And oh god, the lyrics. The lyrics are so bad you can't really let them slide, they'll give your cringe reflex such a workout you'll be able to clench your face into a fist by the end of it. "All for one, one for all, let's all join hands and make a wall" is without a doubt the worst lyric ever penned, hyperbole doesn't do justice what an abomination it is, really.

And the thing is, yeah; it's a decent tune, it's indie by numbers done pretty well, it does make you question: is this really a great band? Really? To me, All For One is, like Second Coming and Ian Brown's solo career, just a symptom of a band that kinda did a great (well, I think it's 'good', but that's another story) album and just kind of blagged a career from there by staying out of the spotlight. I've always thought that The Stone Roses are a band that were good in their day, but lost the spark that made them special fairly early on in their career, and this song kinda confirms it. Still, it's not awful, it's just, y'know, very far from great.


Words: Calum Cashin