Second Coming – The Case For The Defense by Martyn Taylor

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I have been told by many people over the years that The Second Coming by The Stone Roses was a major anti-climax. After much time, hype and anticipation The Stone Roses released their second album in 1994. Fans had been made to wait five and a half years since the release of their eponymous debut masterpiece.

A lot had changed in five and a half years. Gone had the days of The Hacienda and The Happy Mondays, gone had the days of the hazy pop sounds that dominated their earlier release. In had come Parkers, Union Jacks and brash guitar-ladened bands (many of whom were influenced by The Stone Roses original sound).

The Second Coming was a cursed album from the very start, come on, how do you top an album like their debut? Most bands who release something so undeniably brilliant as The Stone Roses album do so three or four LPs into their careers. trying to top the debut was impossible and pointless, so they tried something new. The Psychedelia sounds were dropped to favour a sound of dirty blues-inspired guitar riffs, heavily influenced by Led Zeppelin.

This guitar led blues formula dominates the album, only one song in my opinion harps back to their debut style and that’s Love Spreads. Love Spreads could of slotted into The Stone Roses album seamlessly with out a fuss. Ten Story Love song hints at a psychedelic love revival but falls short where it matters.

John Squires over long guitar solos could be described as self indulgent, but as they say “you cant have enough of a good thing” and his sheer technical prowess shines through. The opening track Breaking Into Heaven shakes with a groove that is trademark Squire (even if the jungle drum intro is a little unnecessary) and is the stand out track of his blues style of playing.

Ian Brown’s trademarked ‘man about town’ likeability and hushed vocals had become more polished on this album. The man could not hold a note to save his life, but he spoke to so many through his lyrics. The opening lyrics and harmonica on Good Times are pure filth from Brown and are my personal highlight from him on the album.

If this album had been their debut, I believed it would of been hailed, (just like The Stone Roses album) as one of the albums of the decade. It had the unfortunate fate of been a follow up, so it’s legacy was tainted from the off.

Luckily, I didn’t have the bias of the reviewers of the time to guide me. I discovered The Stone Roses after their split in 1996 and heard both of their albums for the first time on the same day. I did not have the long overdrawn wait for their follow up which the original fans had to endure. My opinions were made purely from the music, I had no prejudice.

I have always held The Stone Roses debut album in higher esteem than The Second Coming, but don’t let that sway you. The Second Coming is still an amazing album which I still listen to as much as the original release.

“I have a dream, I’ve seen the light, don’t put it out, say she’s alright, yeah she’s my sister.”

mart questionsMartyn Taylor is a 31 year-old father of three and lives in Hull. His pastimes include watching 80s action films over and over again and and debating the all-time Premiership XI with Mr Miles. His knowledge of American sitcoms of the 90s stands second to none. He once walked into a men’s public lavatory absent-mindedly singing the theme tune from Two And A Half Men. You can find him on http://www.twitter.com/shirleysblower but he never tweets, so just follow him on here.

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Al’s Top 30 Albums Of All Time – No. 16

Number 16. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses (1989)

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Madonna once came out with a great soundbite about pop music, which I can’t remember word for word, but it went something like “There is no better way to get into people’s hearts than writing a great melody.” If this is true, then it is one of the great mysteries of the world that The Stone Roses didn’t become the biggest band in the history of the universe. Beatles aside, who obviously did become the biggest band in the history of the universe, there has never been a band to record has many purely tuneful songs as The Stone Roses did on this album.

For a debut, it is incredibly confident, almost to the point of naivety, but there are moments on this album that, like certain songs in the repertoires of Oasis, The Flaming Lips and Michael Jackson, just defy any kind of negativity. They drew the confidence from the positivity, swagger and optimism of their own songs. The three big British indie bands of the eighties before the Roses hit were The Smiths, The Fall and The Jesus and Mary Chain, all bands who would revel in the bleaker side of music, and in the case of the latter two, aggressively so; and the relentless colour and vibrancy of this album, along with the fact that everyone had started taking ecstasy, is the reason that it is thought of as such a ground-breaking set.

I Wanna Be Adored, the first track on here, features possibly the greatest intro of all time. A minute or so of Eraserhead soundtrack-type chugging, then an intricate arpeggio based on a Celtic scale, then the best snare drum thwack since Like A Rolling Stone. As a statement of intent, it has no rival. Then they up the ante with She Bangs The Drums, a deceptively simple song based on a classic sixties E D A chord sequence, made unique by its fantastic Motown-derived bassline, and fittingly the lyrical proclamation “The past was yours but the future’s mine.” Everything just fits perfectly. Ian Brown, later derided for the weakness of his voice, is absolutely right for this album. His sonorous murmur adds to the ambience of the songs and brings a sense of unity rather than the pretension that a Morrissey or Tim Booth would bring.

For me personally, this is an album drenched in nostalgia. I first heard of The Stone Roses after hearing John Squire on the Oasis Knebworth show and asking my musical guru mate Mikey Jarrell who he was, and I twagged off school for the first and only time to go and buy this album the next day. From the age of sixteen to about twenty-four, Waterfall, Made Of Stone and I Am The Resurrection would be on constant rotation, whether on a knackered ghetto blaster at a house party, blaring out at an indie disco as we held our bottles of Reef aloft on the dancefloor, or being hummed by some bloke I met at work who calls himself Xavier Dwyer these days.

They blew it, obviously. Manchester bands all blow it. Joy Division, The Smiths, The Happy Mondays, Oasis… they all blew it. Dunno why. You don’t need to buy Second Coming, it’s not very good (response, Mr Taylor.) You should maybe track down the Fools Gold EP, Ten Storey Love Song and Sally Cinnamon on single, but primarily you just need this album. You’ll find some of the best melodies ever written, and songs that promise a future of endless dancing, bright colours and fresh fruit for everyone. And all those promises are here on one gloriously shiny little disc.

 

Best Tracks: I Wanna Be Adored, Bye Bye Badman, This Is The One

Best Moment: 1:29 into I Wanna Be Adored. The incendiary snare drum. The aural equivalent of a boot up the arse.

Like this? Try: A Northern Soul by The Verve, 1995

profile b and wAllen Miles is 33 years old and lives in Hull. He is married and has a 3 year-old daughter who thinks she’s Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. He is a staunch supporter of Sheffield Wednesday FC and drinks far too much wine. He spends most of his spare time watching old football videos on youtube and watching 1940s film noir. He is the author of This Is How You Disappear, which is widely recognized to be the best book ever written. It is available here. http://tinyurl.com/disappear2014