No, No, Don’t Stop: The New Stone Roses Song Is Actually Pretty Good
“I like it!” — Shaun in Shaun of the Dead
Nothing about The Stone Roses has ever made sense. A brash group of Madchester lads making some of the smartest, sharpest music ever made? An ’80s group that fought into the ’90s to get people to pay attention to their sound, before then abruptly changing it and breaking up? Clearly there was some mistake. Some misunderstanding.
Was Ian Brown putting on a show when he’d act up (“Amateurs! Amateurs!”), or did he really just not care that much about wanting to be adored? Did they all have an endgame that we didn’t get, or were they as blindsided as everyone else by their demise?
Your guess is as good as mine regarding the enigma of the biggest band to go approximately nowhere. They’re like the Twin Peaks of music: Legendary first season (The Stone Roses), divisive second season (Second Coming), and an abrupt cord-pull on the third season before it could even get going. And just the same, when that cord was pulled, everyone who complained earlier suddenly felt real dumb for taking what they had for granted.
But now here we are, two decades later, and we have a return (of both entities, in fact). True, The Roses have been accepting paychecks to play shows for the last few years, so it wasn’t a total surprise to hear that they’re making music again. What is a surprise, however, is that their first new song in forever—“All for One”—finds them not having lost their step.
Brown’s voice has definitely aged, but it’s in a way that serves him—unlike another late ’80s/early ’90s legend I can think of—and John Squire is still John Squire; he could play lead over nursery rhymes and it would still make you want to put on a pair of baggy pants and dance.
This isn’t a mind-blowing tune by any measure. It’s not like they’re usurping “Elephant Stone” or something. What’s happening is that they sound like they’re trying. They sound like they give a shit. And when we’re talking about a band with motivations as hard to pin down as The Stone Roses, that’s a damn fine start right there.