Perfection! – The Stone Roses


Glyph is worse than some and better than others. He believes that life is just one damned thing after another, that only pop music can save us now, and that mercy is the mark of a great man (but he's just all right). Nothing he writes here should be taken as an indication that he knows anything about anything.

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45 Responses

  1. Glyph says:

    Just a note, for those who care about such things: Although the (pricey) Collector’s Edition does contain all these songs and more remastered, in the case of “Elephant Stone”, it does not contain the Leckie 7″ remix that was on the original US album issue (3rd track embedded above), nor the original Peter Hook 7″ single mix; it contains the 12″ Leckie remix, which is almost two minutes longer (as well as a demo take).

    If you want the version of the song that is featured above, you’ll have to get the original US album issue, which you should be able to pick up used cheaply (but of course it won’t have the lovely remastering).

    Finding the original Peter Hook single mix can be done with some diligent internet searching.Report

  2. Jason Kuznicki says:

    I entirely agree. One of the best albums ever made. For several months in college it was literally the only music I listened to.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      My roommate, a mostly punk/hardcore kid up until then, could not get enough of this album; it was so good it completely overcame his resistance. This album got played over and over and over: in the car, at parties.

      In writing this, I must’ve listened to it 4-5 times a day over the past week, and it hasn’t lost a step. It’s just phenomenally good.Report

  3. Roland Dodds says:

    Good piece. It took me a long time to get into this even thought I was an anglophile back in high school. I was much more interested in the Brit-Pop movement they helped pave the way for. What’s amazing about this album is how well it has aged compared to many of the contemporary rock bands that were trying to do this kind of thing in the early 90s. It deserves to stay in print for as long as anyone is interested in listing to music.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Roland Dodds says:

      It’s sonically murkier in places than a lot of Brit-pop, which was mostly pretty brash and straightforward (seriously, I misheard a LOT of these lyrics).

      I think they are also a little ill-served by the whole “Madchester” connection, since a lot of that music was pretty slapdash and disposable (if still fun in the right place and time), and many rock fans tend to avoid anything that smacks of the disco, or see it as lightweight. But the dance connection is very subtle.Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    I was certain that “Love Spreads” was on that first album because, golly, that is a seriously boss opening riff… and, nope, it was on that merely mortal second album.

    Huh. I was sure it was on that first one…Report

    • Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

      Still a pretty good tune though. In fact, the second album in general isn’t the disaster people said it was, it was just (inevitably) a letdown.

      • Chris in reply to Glyph says:

        Damn, I remember this song, and I remember seriously disliking it (that doesn’t seem to have changed, either). I have almost no memory of the first album, though listening to it now, I like it much better than I’d have thought given how much I dislike this song.Report

        • Glyph in reply to Chris says:

          I wasn’t crazy about it when it came out – it was a little too Black-Crowes-boogie or something – but it grew on me.

          Brown’s solo stuff was mightily-uneven, but a few songs I like a lot, like this one:

        • Glyph in reply to Chris says:

          I thought you might like that song because its title is taken from The Revolution of Everyday Life.

          “People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraints, such people have corpses in their mouths.”

          Though I could swear the phrase was also something Jesus said to the Pharisees at one point…Report

          • Chris in reply to Glyph says:

            I like that. Less annoying Oasis, kinda.

            I don’t remember that image, but the work he’s referencing has a line I used to quote a lot: “Those heavy with the dead weight of things will die the death of things.” Soon followed by, “What we don’t need to destroy is worth saving. That is the simplest version of our future penal code.”

            (No politics, of course.)Report

            • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Chris says:

              Part of what’s going on here is that the Stone Roses were never anything more than a studio band. By all accounts their live performances were usually disasters. Production is what made them good.

              Ian Brown’s vocal range and tune-carrying ability were both awful, and the studio tracks took zillions of takes to get right. When he had to sing live, he just couldn’t. Likewise the production on his solo stuff wasn’t as careful, and it often shows. Also he never had a truly fantastic guitarist for his solo work, which counts for a lot as well.Report

              • Glyph in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

                I’ve watched/listened to live performances online and the band could be good, but Brown is invariably god-awful, like me singing Stone Roses karaoke.

                I’ve seen some speculate that Leckie did a zillion takes, then spliced the best bits together (I’m not sure what the state of auto-tune type software was in the late ’80s) and he’s no doubt a genius, but the difference is so profound that I’ve wondered if Brown has terrible stage fright or performance anxiety, and either that or the drink/drug taken to deal with it is what wrecks him when performing.

                It’d be interesting if the singer of such cocksure lyrics, is in fact suffering from debilitating anxiety.

                Check this:

                The vocals on ‘Fool’s Gold’, Brown’s strongest to date, were recorded…in a tiled room. ‘The natural echo you hear on Ian’s vocal, that’s not extra stuff being added, that’s just him’, Schroeder said. ‘I had the lights turned off, so he didn’t know where the mic was, and he was dancing around really out of it…I put (the mic) on “all round” so it would pick up everything. I just told Ian to pretend he was sitting on top of a speaker looking down at people dancing. I said for him to imagine he was in control of the dance floor while he was singing….He had a big smile on his face when he came back in.’

                So: they put him in a completely darkened, tiled room (like your shower, but in the dark, where all you can see or hear is your own voice) where he could not even see the mic, and he performed like a champ, supposedly without effects needed, and came out grinning.

                Sounds like could be fear. Andy Partridge of XTC hasn’t performed live in years.

                Given Brown’s blue-collar Manc background and coming up in the punk scene, he probably wouldn’t admit that he was scared s**tless and needed help, ever.Report

              • Chris in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

                That makes sense. I was kind of wondering if the track from the Roses’ second album indicated the influence of playing live shows on their music. The first album feels intricate and intimate, like a late Beatles album that was never intended to be performed. “Love Spreads” sounds like they got it in their heads they were rockers.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

                Dude, in that opening riff? THEY WERE.Report

              • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

                I agree the opening riff rocks.Report

              • Glyph in reply to Chris says:

                The second album has a lot – a LOT of Zeppelin-nicking going on.

                Like, this is just shameless:


              • Glyph in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

                OK, so I’ve become sort of obsessed with my “stage fright/anxiety” theory, and I think this is maybe a point on my favor (or possibly, Brown’s hearing deteriorated over time, from clubbing?)

                These are some early, very raw demo recordings – while Brown’s overall vocal range remains limited, and the low fidelity makes it hard to say for certain, he appears to be more-or-less hitting the notes, even the high ones (close enough for rock and roll, anyway) solidly/strongly. There can’t be a ton of vocal studio trickery going on at this stage.

                Also, the first couple tracks give the lie to the idea the band wasn’t capable of, nor interested in, rocking the heck out:


              • CK MacLeod in reply to Glyph says:

                Plus the band is apparently still giving live performances. Maybe they’ve gotten better at them…

                (Firefox has a lot of trouble loading this post now, with all of these YouTubes. Even Chrome hangs a bit. I wonder if people using other browsers/systems are having similar problems.)Report

              • Glyph in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                No, Brown is still awful from what I’ve seen/heard.

                W/R/T slow page load – yes, that happens with a lot of YT embeds, whenever using the newer YouTube embed code. It’s why I used to use the old YT embed code – page load/response performance was MILES better. I tested them side by side, and had a couple other people confirm it.Report

              • CK MacLeod in reply to Glyph says:

                Could be the simpler, otherwise bettter-functioning code would work better with the old code disabled, or may be other ways to improve performance. Will research.

                The post itself might have gone better with a custom Playlist backed by individual text-links, especially since the videos themselves are essentially just audio-tracks.

                And there are other custom Youtube and audio players I’ve used before that also let you run self-hosted tracks, or load videos as pop-ups. Unfortunately, self-hosting video and high quality audio isn’t usually practical unless you’re running a more advanced ($$$) hosting account than we are.Report

              • Glyph in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                Just forwarded you the chain from when some MD’ers discussed it before (true to form, I take a moment to complain about the Visual Editor in there). It’s from the old Yahoo acct, so check yr spam folder if you don’t see it. And when I say “old” embed code, it’s the one before the one you made me stop using.

                One possibility we discussed but did not follow through on due to security concerns, was a third-party script that places a thumbnail image, then calls the embed on-demand upon click. (IOW, the initial pageload doesn’t get slowed down by having all the embeds actually there, and only the embeds people actually want to see, get loaded). Something similar might be an option.Report

              • CK MacLeod in reply to Glyph says:

                Installed a new plug-in that lazy-loads YouTubes. Works real fast on Chrome. Improved Firefox response, but still slowish on this page – could have something to do with fact that the links on this page are standard YouTube urls, which it does convert, but not urls in the preferred new format. Will explain in detail later after testing some more.Report

              • CK MacLeod in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                not sure whether will embed in comment box… or even embed multiple videos… at least for me:

                regular video with new code


                2nd regular video, shortlink form with new code


                audioplayer only 3rd video


              • CK MacLeod in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                answer appears to be no – MAY be able to make it happen, however, with some more finagling… checking something else while I’m at it

                Shortcode in comments style:

                [lyte id="XxNGCQq1B00" audio="true" /]

                [lyte id="RUPhAB9MoRI"]Report

              • CK MacLeod in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                Ah! That works. The first one is the default “audio player only” version.

                Page loads like a flash on Chrome – still slow but better on Firefox. I think with the new correct urls will be significantly better again on Firefox, too. Instructions to follow.

                Most of the time will probably be sufficient just to use the raw YouTube links for most users – and no longer need to add the &w=660 code either to default to full width. We can also make the controls default to show, if that’s your strong preference.Report

  5. CK MacLeod says:

    Actually, if you still use a… CD player… or a cassette deck, or, kinda trendier, a vinyl player, the Collector’s Ed isn’t all that pricey. It’s just you kids with your newfangled audio-inferior MP3s that have to pay up.Report

    • Glyph in reply to CK MacLeod says:

      Unfortunately, that’s not the case. As if the release history of this thing isn’t confusing enough already, Amazon has conflated different Anniversary Editions at their site – the multi-disc “Collector’s” Edition has (almost) everything, but will be expensive on CD, if you can even find it. MP3’s will probably be your cheapest option here.

      If you click on the CD at Amazon, you can see that it takes you to the 12-song single-disc “Legacy” Edition, which is the original US album remastered, minus “Elephant Stone”.

      If I were recommending what to get, I’d say go the latter route, then get the (also remastered) “The Very Best Of The Stone Roses” which will get you some singles. You could probably pick up both, used, for around $15 total, or new for around $20 total.Report

      • CK MacLeod in reply to Glyph says:

        Seems to me the safest bet is to buy two each (one to keep, one to listen to) in all 33 available editions.

        EDIT: Yes, and that goes for the digital versions, too, in case of bad transfers or computer viruses and the like. I know that doesn’t give perfect security, but we don’t want to go overboard.Report

        • Roland Dodds in reply to CK MacLeod says:

          I have a coworker that still buys 2 copies of stuff on vinyl. The fact that records now cost 30 bucks, it seems like a crazy idea for a hobby, but what the hell do I know. I still buy cassette tapes!Report

          • Glyph in reply to Roland Dodds says:

            Is one a backup, or are they holding on to it for speculative purposes (or, I suppose, gifting)?Report

            • Roland Dodds in reply to Glyph says:

              I think the second is to just have in shrink-wrap for some unknown purpose (seeing that he doesn’t sell any).Report

              • Keeping a second in pristine condition is a collector thing – including but not reduced to a “speculative” value in monetary terms.

                He may not sell it now or even intend ever to sell it, but he knows he has one (and you don’t, preferably). Just knowing he has a perfect copy gives him a peculiar sense of security, enables him to enjoy having a perfect copy (its perfection exists in his mind as long as he retains the copy). In market terms, the pristine one’s notional value to him, or his heirs and assigns, or theirs, will be expected to be 2x or more the value of a perfect copy merely ever opened, and handled, and played unknown times. Future collectors will be expected to have no interest at all in the non-pristine versions – as with many coins and comic books, for example – assuming no zombie apocalypse, communist revolution, or other such Change (of a value-destroying type) between now and infinity.Report

              • Roland Dodds in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                He must be very distressed by all my talk of revolution at work. Or maybe, he imagines the value of these goods rising significantly when said revolution occurs? Perhaps records will be the new currency in the post-apocolyptic future?Report

              • Glyph in reply to Roland Dodds says:

                Or, per Shaun of the Dead, weapons (Stone Roses actually named!)


              • Best would be if your Consumerism Police set out to destroy all collectibles, imposed harsh penalties on anyone caught with them, rewards for handing them over, grand bonfires… you know the drill The value of those secretly preserved would skyrocket, though you probably couldn’t cash in on them until after the next revolution.Report

  6. Maribou says:

    Searching “Bellona Belladonna” leads to some very interesting results, including the mention of a “Miss K. Bellona Belladonna” in a satirical column in an old (1871) issue of the Century.Report

  7. Stillwater says:

    This was a super fun post to read, Glyph, and the music accompanying the text was pretty dern good too. Thanks for taking the time to write it up. Very nice.Report