It was suddenly announced yesterday afternoon that the Stone Roses were set to release a new single at eight that evening. It was to be played on the radio and made immediately available on YouTube, Spotify and other social media. An event. A special event for very, very many who have countless memories, key experiences and emotions tied up in this particular band.
I'm not really among that number though I am of the Stone Roses generation or possibly a bit before. I would have seen them in 1989 at a small indie club venue in Norwich in 1989 but I had a cold. They began their incredible climb to stardom a few weeks later. The biggest British band of the late eighties and early nineties and one of the most important ever.
But that is all no excuse for this desperately tired and cobbled together object in 2016. The lyrics are ham-fisted, the musketeers allusion laughable and the general playing an exercise in patching together numerous moments from their past with absolutely nothing new to bring to the table more than twenty years on. The guitar riff, the most distinctive thing about the song is ripped off a Fall song called Squid Lord from 1988. The packaging meanwhile, (above), is blatantly swiped from The Beatles White Album, with a lemon substituting for The Beatles apple to show it's actually The Stone Roses we're talking about. Still harking back to the sixties. Destined to live forever, kept buoyant by the memory of former glories.
Anyone with ears and without an emotional investment in the band will come to the same conclusion I imagine. It's no era defining work. Sadly, there are plenty who will just not let it go and seem to have no plans to do so. There are always people queuing up at my local's jukebox to put on I Wanna Be Adored, Made of Stone, Waterfall and She Bangs The Drums. There surely always will be. I wouldn't mind so much but those three songs have come to stand for the whole. There's a lot of still interesting, neglected stuff on that first album particularly. And elsewhere.
Still, as I listen to Shoot You Down and This Is The One, two examples of what I'm talking about, it would be nice to remember them that way and let it rest. Sadly the band themselves won't let us and neither will their utterly uncritical legions of fans. It was interesting that Marc Riley, 6 Music DJ and a man who knows his stuff on playing the record last night said, 'Well it couldn't be anyone else...' and left it at that. No it couldn't. And that's not nearly good enough.