do the Stone Roses need to release a new album?It’s a hushed question that people dare not speak out, but one that has to be asked: :Do the Stone Roses need to release a new album?”

Let us put our cards on the table here – of course we would like to hear a third coming – it would be a great release and a new Stone Roses album, the next instalment in the adventures of a band that is beyond the law. Sometimes we try and imagine what it would sound like. We are pretty damn sure that the band is capable of pulling it off and we have heard from various sources at various times that the band have been writing new songs. In effect, a new song sort of already exists in the jammed out tail end of Fools Gold which is constantly morphing and changing into a beautiful monster of its own and would make a great new tune if taken from the live set and cut adrift from its original song.

We know the magic is still there. They made their old songs come to life in a way that should have been impossible at those legendary comeback shows. We even spoke to Jimmy Page about them and found ourselves in agreement with the great man when he said John Squire was the best guitar player he had seen and that Ian Brown was a hypnotic, shamanic presence -the capability of the band is in no doubt- they sounded modern and not retro with a set of decades old songs – who else could pull that off?

No one is suggesting here that the Stone Roses won’t be releasing or recording a new album – all we are wondering is that if it’s just too conventional for the band to make a new record! After all, this is the one major band career that has never followed the rule book. The Roses can be many things but they were never boring and they had that in-built bullshit detector left over from their punk youth, that quest for perfection and that brilliantly obstinate trick of saying ‘no’ to the man.

Most bands swiftly get on the album / tour cycle and normalise themselves at the cost of their creativity, but the Roses have always operated beyond the slog – this is a band that has done no interviews since their comeback, apart from the press conference, no other band would dare to do this and this disappearing into the ether is part of what makes the band so powerfully attractive -they are not media prostitutes- it’s all about the creativity.

It’s hard to imagine that with the constituent parts of the band playing together there would not be some sort of magical chemistry creating great new jams and fluid playing beyond the capabilities of most bands but would these constitute songs? and what would the Stone Roses third album actually sound like? gone are the days of the punkoid anthems of the mid eighties and the follow up period of hazy pysche tinged classic guitar pop, gone are the days of the 1989 magical summer they sound tracked so perfectly, gone are the days of the funk tinged loose chops of the Fools Gold period and gone are the days of the robust rockier Second Coming, where the band made one of the most underrated albums of all time.

On the other hand, maybe they can muster the magic from those distinct periods, but would they want to? The question is just what would the Stone Roses sound like in the 21st century – this is what intrigues us and makes us want them to record whilst also quite enjoying the idea that, like a gang of Robin Hoods, they stole from the rich and laughed at the music biz, but left a legacy of amazing songs and stunning gigs that empowered and thrilled a generation of fans and musicians equally.

Whilst some doubt their ability to make a great new album we are pretty confident that they could, but only if they wanted to … the key to the Roses is quality control and each of the four members knows that they are blessed and cursed with expectations of perfection – the Roses will never be allowed to make a great album, they will be expected to make a genius generational album and that is hardly fair, but not the worst pressure to be cursed with.

Only four people know the answer to this riddle and they are out there somewhere in that ether – they could drop an album tomorrow or never return at all – surely that is the magic of the band and even their most diehard fan could never want them to be just mundane and do the expected…

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Great article. I really hope they do make an album that THEY choose to make.
    Free of the expectations of fans.
    The B Side to ‘Ten Story love Song’ called ‘Ride On’ was like a fusion of acid funk and
    rock and i think back then they were talking about recording an album that was more
    in keeping with that sound.
    I guess the expectations will be that people want another album in the ilk of the original album,
    which is what caused all the media cynicism when The Second Coming was released, and while
    it’s true some of the gigs that took place in 1995/96 were poor, so many of them were amazing.
    I hope they do record a new album, and this time, i hope they record it for themselves. x


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