Friday, August 15, 2008

My Favourite Albums: Number 1: The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses

There are some records that define certain years for me - Oasis' Definitely Maybe was the soundtrack to 1996 for me, despite being two years old at that point.

There are records that I heard early on in my musical development, and which acted as stepping stones into new worlds - an appreciation of Paul Weller's solo work acted as a starting point for my forays into punk, soul and r&b.

And there are records that have had such a cultural impact that they are inescapable, and are as much a part of living in Britain as the Queen, Coronation Street and Tetley's tea.

But my favourite album is none of these. It doesn't define any specific point in my life, having remained a constant source of joy since the first time I heard it. It never encouraged me to find out more about any other bands, primarily because I was already well versed in the works of The Beatles, The Jam and The Rolling Stones by the time I came to The Stone Roses.

And while The Stone Roses is most definitely a British album - and Her Majesty is the inspiration for Elizabeth My Dear - the Roses never reached the heights scaled by Oasis and Blur in their wake.

But, since the age of 18, I've been unmoved in my assertion that The Stone Roses' debut album is the greatest ever made. Given that I regard The Beatles as the greatest band ever, it's a bold statement.

I was only nine when the album was released in 1989, and I didn't really discover it until it was almost 10 years old. It was actually the third Roses album I acquired, having received a copy of the compilation The Complete Stone Roses as a birthday present and purchased a second-hand copy of Second Coming from the magnificent Dundee institution that is Groucho's.

The Stone Roses grabbed me immediately. The opening bass rumble and nimble finger-picking of I Wanna Be Adored's intro sets the scene, and even Ian Brown's foghorn voice can't impact on vintage pre-Britpop psychedelia.

I could attempt to explain why each of the songs on the album is a classic (with the possible exception of Don't Stop - just Waterfall played backwards with new lyrics whispered over the top), or why the whole package transcends the sum of its parts.

But I can't, and I won't attempt to. All I can really do is urge you all to buy a copy of the album and give it a listen. And I'll leave you with the album's final track, the euphoric, climactic eight-minute burst that is I Am The Resurrection.

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