I should have known better.
Remember your brain when you go to the music store, or you may get suckered in like I did. Second Coming from British band Stone Roses really should have been good. I fell in love with the album’s single ”Love Spreads”. Upon purchasing the entire CD, I realized that a gargantuan mistake had been made by me. Second Coming isn’t even mediocre. It’s boring, dry, and painfully assembled. With that dire introduction, is there anything good to be said about Stone Roses or this album?
The Stone Roses supposedly led a wave a British bands in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The band formed in Manchester during 1985. A group of friends including John Squire (guitar), Ian Brown (vocals), Alan John Wren (drums), Andy Couzens (guitar), and Pete Garner (bass). The lineup soon shifted with the dismissal of Couzens and Garner. Garner was soon replaced with Gary Mounfield. During the lean years, the band managed to release a few semi-successful singles that capitalized on their rock-pop flavor. Their debut album proved increasingly popular, and after escaping their record deal the band signed a mega-deal with Geffen.
Four years later (in 1994), the world was handed Second Coming and it’s hyped first single ”Love Spreads”. By all accounts, it was expected to go to number one upon release. That didn’t happen, it debuted to iffy reviews and entered at number two. As the years progressed, the band’s popularity waned to the point to nothingness. The band finally put themselves out of their misery in early 1996 in part as a result of dismal review, sales, and fans.
As I mentioned, Second Coming is the only major label album for the too-hyped Stone Roses. At best, it’s mediocre. At worst, it just blows. The only hit of any kind was that first single ”Love Spreads”. The rest of the songs could fade into oblivion and nobody would take notice. As it is, Stone Roses have faded into complete obscurity, leaving the music world with unfulfilled promises.
”Breaking Into Heaven” could have proven interesting. The old-fashioned guitar solo in the beginning is loud and fun. Yet, somehow it seems strange and overwrought. As the song slows and becomes more and more melodramatic the listener is oddly isolated from the song with the sounds of nature (water, birds, crickets). I’m left thinking “what the hell was that?” As atmospheric music, that two-minute introduction could be nice. As a rock-pop track it’s pretentious as hell. Hey, who needs vocals anyway…
A hard-rocking guitar solo introduces ”Driving South” with great energy. The sound is good initially, yet it sounds too much like ”Love Spreads”. This is one of the best tracks on this album, also with so many turkeys that’s not saying much about this track at all. The loud guitars, bass, and drums completely drown out Brown’s decent vocals talents. If you have the unfortunate pleasure of owning this album, you may want to check this song out. But then again, you may want to skip it.
It’s amazing again how pretentious this Brit band is. ”Ten Storey Love Song” is ridiculous. With a Spanish-sounding guitar (it’s actually quite pretty) and rock drums, the band just sounds like a bunch of fools. As the song breaks down, the vocals are pretty good. The guitars are also nice and heavy. If it wasn’t for the stupid introduction this could be an okay song. Instead this song is ridiculous and stupid. Geffen was smart for dropping this bunch of yahoos.
”Daybreak” actually reminds me a bit of some of U2’s mid-1990’s music (minus Bono’s attitude of course). The guitars sound a bit bluesy and the drum line is decent. The vocals and lyrics aren’t in the least bit interesting. This inconsistency leads to complete and utter destruction yet again. You’d think with the support of Geffen that they could have at least put together something serviceable until they got their act together. Like I said…you’d think.
The somehow warped acoustic guitars are an interesting touch to ”You Star Will Shine”. Although, the song sink within the first minute thanks to the ridiculously long lead in. The instrumentation here is better executed than most other tracks, but the entire feel of this track is lackadaisical and pitiful. I warn you…skip this one. Otherwise, you may end up regretting having pushed play.
Tribal drums with a jaw harp and then regular rock instruments make this song little better than strange. ”Straight To Your Man” may as well be a novelty track as that’s all I can think of with the jaw harp. Wow. I didn’t know music could turn out this uninspired.
”Begging You” is annoying and mechanical and ridden with synthesizers. I’m infinitely annoyed by the strange beats and grinding noise that seems utterly inappropriate on this album. Why does Brown even attempt to sing when you can’t hear one word he says over the noise and feedback. Two words…”this bites.”
That’s just the beginning. Tracks eight through eleven all pretty much blend into one big mushy pile of mess. The Stone Roses yowl in front of an occasional guitar, castanets, and random other instruments on ”Tightrope”. This is awful, putrid music. ”Good Times” is supposed to be dark and brooding. It’s just comes off as another bad song from what seems like a has-been band. The guitar line and musical sound of ”Tears” could have been done as well by Skid Row in the 1980’s. Sebastian Bach would’ve been better anyway. It’s too wishy-washy and boring. Come on…give us some noise, some emotion, and show at least an iota of talent! More strange percussion and light electric guitars mark the beginning of ”How Do You Sleep”. It’s an okay song, but by the time it rolls around on this pitiful excuse for an album I nauseous and can’t listen with any sort of open mind.
The final track is also the most popular from this album. ”Love Spreads” is a long song who’s intro and guitar solos spread themselves thickly through the song. I actually like the song somewhat, but the intro is just too much. Brown sounds as good as ever, although it’s still nearly impossible to hear him sing at all. The chorus is moderately catchy and moderately interesting. There’s no real point to the song. Don’t make the mistake to buy this album because of this song. For gods sake, download the MP3.
There is some really awful hidden material on this album. The rest of the tracks are so bad that I can’t justify a reason to talk about what the band felt it necessary to include on an otherwise sad excuse for an album. Stone Roses needed a good ol’ swat across the knuckles for even trying to pass this garbage off as music. It’s sad, uninteresting, uninspired, and strange.
Don’t buy this album. I don’t care what kind of music you like or whether you like something else from this band. This album is one of the worst I own…I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I bought in to the myth of Stone Roses for even a moment. Like I said, download the MP3 of ”Love Spreads” and forgo listening to this crap.
I give this album a deserved 1.5/5 stars. I will round it up to 2/5 stars for the semi-inspired tracks ”Driving South” and the repeatedly mentioned ”Love Spreads”. I don’t recommend the album as a whole to ANYBODY. If you see this on the rack at the CD store, pick it up and hide it over in the New Age or Adult Contemporary section. Make sure no unsuspecting music lovers get their paws on Second Coming.