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Saturday, 1 June 2013

Stone Roses: pull the plug on the hype

Here's a genuine quote:  "The Stone Roses, whose 1989 eponymous debut is widely regarded in the UK music press as one of the best British albums ever" (BBC News Online, 31 May 2013).

I kid you not. Widely regarded. If I had any sense I'd probably walk discreetly by on the other side of the road over this. Don't get involved ...

But, c'mon. What are they on about! Too much stuff like this will doubtless reduce your critical faculties to mush and you'll begin to half believe these pronouncements. ("Hmm. That I Am The Resurrection track. Quite good, that was ..."). This trash must not pass!

I won't actually dignify the remark by going through a roll call of LPs that are infinitely better than Ian Brown and his mates' so-so album. Almost anything by The Fall, New Order, The Country Teasers, Billy Childish, Felt, Clinic, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci ... [feel free to add in further artists of your own here] ... leaves the SR's pedestrian effort looking like the middle-of-the-road album that it is.

But no, that's to begin to take the comment seriously. The real point is how do these preposterous ideas ever gain currency? I guess we have to partly blame the infantilisation brought about by things like NME Top Ten Best Ever Albums lists.

As it happens I was lucky/unlucky enough to be living in Manchester during the whole misbegotten Madchester affair and, apart from one or two decent-ish rave-y nights in the Hacienda, I look back on that Mani/Wrote For Luck/New Fads episode with ... oh, almost zero affection. Laddish and throwbackish, it deserves to be quietly forgotten, not hauled back into view with a - rather desperate - new round of hype over media darlings The Stone Roses. Why, ahem, resurrect them now? It's just more evidence of the mainstream's inability to look at anything new.

The BBC and a few critics might adore this bafflingly overrated band but, like Ian Brown at the end of that short-lived Stone Roses appearance on The Late Show in 1989, I say: amateurs!

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