The Stone Roses are back. But what can new acts learn from this?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are that you’ll be aware that The Stone Roses have returned with their first recorded output in over twenty years. It’s been a long four years since they first reunited, so this has been a long awaited and highly anticipated moment.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say that the wait was worth it. New single All For One catches a vibe from between the band’s first and second studio albums, combining the rave-inspired rhythms with a guitar tone that is much more rock-ready than dancefloor filler. This is fine, but the release is dire when you consider the lyrical content.
Ian Brown has been hailed as a “godlike genius” for his lyricism, and his solo career has demonstrated that he is capable of working together stunning sentences of meaningful sentiment. So when the majority of this track is an absurdly simplistic chant, you’ve got to question whether that time was better spent elsewhere. The new single would be acceptable as a break in a live show, rousing the crowds, but doesn’t deserve the honour of studio time.
So what should new musicians take from this? There is a balance between a good studio track and a track that works well live, and good songs come from striking that balance perfectly. This single embraces the live singalong scenario fully and, as a result, is arguably the worst comeback single of all time. The Stone Roses’ first album, however, shows how these balances can – and should – be done: well-formed lyrics delivered in a straightforward way, with a chorus that is simple enough to sing but that doesn’t occupy the bulk of the run time.
Likewise, don’t rest on your achievements. The Stone Roses were good in the 1980s and their touring success in recent years has been due to their absense and nostalgia of that time. Ian Brown was voted an excellent lyricist for his content. But you wouldn’t get any indication of either of those accomplishments from listening to this single.
Always innovate and never fall back into the comfort of your successes. And certainly never take a lazy approach to songwriting when you’ve been building expectations for two decades.