Saturday, May 13, 1989

The Stone Roses’ debut album hit the charts

First posted 3/23/2008; updated 10/11/2020.

The Stone Roses

The Stone Roses

Released: May 2, 1989

Peak: 86 US, 9 UK, 62 CN, 36 AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, 1.2 UK, 1.2 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: alternative rock/Britpop


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. I Wanna Be Adored (9/14/91, 20 UK, 18 MR)
  2. She Bangs the Drums (7/29/89, 34 UK, 9 MR)
  3. Waterfall (1/11/92, 27 UK)
  4. Don’t Stop
  5. Bye Bye Badman
  6. Elizabeth My Dear
  7. (Song for My) Sugar Spun Sister
  8. Made of Stone (3/31/89, 20 UK)
  9. Shoot You Down
  10. This Is the One
  11. I Am the Resurrection (4/11/92, 33 UK)

Total Running Time: 49:02

The Players:

  • Ian Brown (vocals)
  • John Squire (guitars, backing vocals)
  • Mani (bass)
  • Reni (drums, backing vocals)


4.363 out of 5.00 (average of 20 ratings)

Quotable: “There’s almost no precedent for the Stone Roses…their debut was a fully formed gem that gave birth to an entire genre – Brit-pop.” – Josh Tyrangiel and Alan Light, Time magazine


About the Album:

“There’s almost no precedent for the Stone Roses…their debut was a fully formed gem that gave birth to an entire genre – Brit-pop.” TL “Pop hooks [are] one thing, and dance rhythms [are] another, but it’s also important to have dat swing, you know, and the band has it.” GS The album “ushered in the era of Madchester,” AZ “an indie rock phenomenon that fused guitar-pop with drug-fueled rave and dance culture.” AMG At the time, “British youth were abandoning rock music en masse for acid-house sounds and communal raves” BN “and the charts were looking less than healthy.” AD By bringing “dance music to an audience…previously obsessed with droning guitars,” AMG the Stone Roses “almost single-handedly made British rock music hip again.” BN

Through “classic psychedelia married with punk energy and rave swagger” BN, the Roses established themselves as “postmodern English, filtering folk-rock romanticism through Joy Division and Jesus and Mary Chain hyperromanticism.” RC “The repercussions…could be heard throughout the ‘90s” AMG as the band spawned the sound of the guitar-based pop of Oasis and Blur, “gave birth to shoegazer bands like My Bloody Valentine,” RV and were “a definite precursor of grunge.” JA

Frontman Ian Brown revived “the concept of classic pop songwriting.” AMG “Quietly melodic” PK “prime ‘sixties’ harmonies” AD “owe far more to, say, Simon & Garfunkel than to New Order.” PK The lyrics “flicked at epic romance…without veering into sentimentality.” TL The album “creates it’s own world and atmosphere whilst simultaneously reminding you of almost every great sixties English group.” AD It has “the lyrical sensibilities of John Lennon and Joe Strummer, mixes in Motown rhythms, adds a dash of Sex Pistols and tops it off with a purple haze of instrumentation and production reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix.” RV “The vocal melodies are well-written and sound fresh, sincere, and inspiring. And happy, too: this is one hell of a cheerful, optimistic record.” GS “Only The Beatles ever dared exhaust so many good tunes in the space of an hour.” IB Ultimately, the album is “a crystallization of everything there is to love about the last 40 years of pop music.” RV

Guitarist John Squire establishes himself as “a new hero for a new age,” AZ deftly heading into the world of “guitar heroism without the attendant pomp and egomania.” IB His “playing is endlessly inventive but never overwhelms the songs.” IB His “layers of simple, exceedingly catchy hooks” AMG are “a thing of magic,” AZ “recalling the British Invasion while suggesting the future with their phased, echoey effects.” AMG He “lingered over chords like the Byrds’ Roger McGuinn.” TL “Drummer Alan ‘Reni’ Wren’s galloping, hiphop-influenced beats [are] a sonic infusion that became a fixture of ‘90s alt rock.” JA Along with bassist ‘Mani’ Mounfield, the two “shift from charging beat-pop to fluid funkadelic grooves, sometimes in the space of a single song.” IB They “always imply dance rhythms without overtly going into the disco,” AMG establishing themselves as “one of the tightest British rhythm sections of the time.” GS “This is as good as guitars, bass and drums can sound together, and if you don’t get it, you probably have some disease that keeps you from liking music.” IB

I Wanna Be Adored is “a perfect album opener” AD “with it’s slow, slow build up [and the] impeccably played musical backing” AD of Mani’s “creeping bassline,” AMG Squire’s “waves of cool guitar hooks” AMG and Reni’s “funky drummer shuffle.” QM Through it all, Brown “Brown sings with a vitriolic verve unheard since Johnny Rotten” RV as he “reveals the band is driven by the devil to make great music. ‘I don’t need to sell my soul,’ he sings. ‘He’s already in me.’ When he wails, ‘I wanna be adored,’ the sentiment doesn’t seem like an egotistical statement from a band in its infancy as much as it is a prelude to greatness.” RV

On She Bangs the Drums “the ‘60s hooks and the rolling beats manage to convey the colorful, neo-psychedelic world of acid house” AMG and “wind into the rhythm inseparably” AMG while displaying “a rush of guitars not heard since The Byrds invented folk rock.” AD Waterfall is “a luminous, druggy, Byrds-style ballad” JA “with it’s delicate repeating guitar figure and it’s dramatic ending.” AD By leaning on “sixties-influenced studio gimmicks like backwards tracks and phasing,” JA

Made of Stone is an “atmospheric” and “heartbreaking, swoon-some classic pop rock song.” AD “The band were justly proud of this and released it as a single.” AD It “depicts the destruction of Manchester under dwindling industrialization and Margaret Thatcher’s iron fist. ‘When the streets are cold and lonely / And the cars they burn below me / Are you all alone / Are you made of stone?’” RV

While every song on the album “is knocking on the door of perfection…[the epic finale I Am the Resurrection] kicks it down, taking in bubblegum, Motown, and psychedelic funk on the way to a glorious instrumental climax that’ll having you shaking your head in disbelief.” IB It takes a certain amount of arrogance for a band to claim its [sic] the second coming, let alone an upstart. The Roses pull it off with ease. Brown snarls, ‘I am the resurrection and I am the light / I couldn’t ever bring myself to hate you as I fly,’ sounding more like a villain than the messiah…By the time the band reaches its instrumental climax, it’s easy to adore the Roses.” RV

The band would never find a way to equal their debut. With their fame came subsequent legal battles to move from independent status to a major label. They eventually signed with Geffen and, five years after their debut, “reemerged…with the stodgy and wrongly titled Second Coming. The Stone Roses, however, remains a stellar contribution to the canon of classic debuts.” BN It is “one of the finest records of the past 30 years.” CL “Some albums really can change the world, and in 1989 this was one of them.” AZ

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Tuesday, May 2, 1989

Simple Minds’ Street Fighting Years released

First posted 7/9/2010; updated 10/9/2020.

Street Fighting Years

Simple Minds

Released: May 2, 1989

Peak: 70 US, 11 UK, 24 CN, 11 AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.6 UK, 2.44 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: alternative rock


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Street Fighting Years
  2. Soul Crying Out
  3. Wall of Love
  4. This Is Your Land (with Lou Reed) (4/22/89, 37 AR, 12 MR, 13 UK, 40 CN, 38 AU)
  5. Take a Step Back (6/24/89, 14 MR)
  6. Kick It In (7/17/89, 15 UK, 94 AU)
  7. Let It All Come Down (12/3/89, 77 AU)
  8. Mandela Day (4/18/89, 17 MR, 12 AU)
  9. Belfast Child (2/6/89, 1 UK, 12 AU)
  10. Biko (2/6/89, 12 AU)
  11. When Spirits Rise

Total Running Time: 61:13

The Players:

  • Jim Kerr (vocals)
  • Charlie Burchill (guitar)
  • Mick MacNeil (keyboards)
  • John Giblin, Stephen Lipson (bass)
  • Manu Katché, Mel Gaynor (drums)
  • Leroy Williams (percussion)


3.550 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)


About the Album:

Simple Minds built a following in the U.K. during the early ‘80s, but didn’t have their U.S. breakthrough until 1985’s #1 pop hit “Don’t You Forget about Me.” Before the year was out, the band followed that up with their most successful album to date, the top 10, gold-selling Once Upon a Time. Then, other than an interim live album, the group disappeared from the scene for four years.

The band was now officially a trio, comprised of founding members Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill, as well as Mick MacNeil, who’d joined in 1978. Mel Gaynor, who’d drummed with the band since 1982, was demoted to a session player after disagreements with producer Trevor Horn. John Giblin, who’d joined the band on bass in 1985, left during the sessions. Horn maintained the “arena rock sense of scale and drama which the band had developed since the mid’1980s,” WK but added “soundtrack atmospherics and a new incorporation of acoustic and Celtic-folk music-related ingredients.” WK

The new approach made for a “decidedly, noncommercial follow-up. Street Fighting Years is a moody, dark affair. The music is yearning and most of the songs are politically charged lyrically.” TD Kerr noted that “every song seemed to be about conflict.” WK The lyrics covered topics such as “the Poll Tax, the Soweto townships, the Berlin Wall, and the stationing of nuclear submarines on the Scottish coast.” WK

It made for mixed reviews. Rolling Stone’s Mark Coleman said the album “stands as an unfortunate example of politicized rock at its most simple-minded.” WK On the other side, though, Q magazine’s David Sinclair said the band “had finally produced a record to justify their reputation.” WK

“Noteworthy tracks include a version of the Peter Gabriel classic Biko and the soaring Mandela Day.” TD “The title track takes some dramatic turns that give the gentle melody added thrust. Take a Step Back pulsates and Wall of Love rocks with conviction. Slower tracks like the brooding Let It All Come Down and a spirited run through the traditional Belfast Child are well done.” TD

The latter was the lead single in the UK and went to #1, as did the album. In the U.S., however, the album was a commercial failure. This Is Your Land, with a guest spot from Lou Reed, was released as the lead single in America. It made the album rock and mainstream rock charts, but failed to dent the Billboard Hot 100.

Overall, “Street Fighting Years is an artistic and elegant album that might lack immediate choruses but draws in the listener.” TD “It might not have satisfied the band’s newly won fans, but Street Fighting Years is an interesting, enjoyable album with some truly lovely moments.” TD

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The Cure released Disintegration: May 2, 1989

Originally posted May 2, 2012.

“According to the kids on South Park, this is the best album ever made. According to many depressive Eighties-minded kids, it’s the only album ever made.” RS It “is essentially a refinement of everything that preceded it.” TB “Expanding the latent arena rock sensibilities that peppered Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me,” AZ The Cure crafted “a pop album realized on an epic scale” AZ “with the crawling, darkly seductive Disintegration.” AZ “The Cure were operating at some kind of peak level right about this time in their history.” AD

“Cure musical trademarks, such as the lengthy introductions, are taken to glorious extremes here.” AD The album is “comprised almost entirely of epics like the soaring, icy Pictures of YouAMG and other “long mood pieces that develop slowly around the listener.” AZ “The lyrical focus is intensely personal throughout, and, with the exception of” AZ “the concise and utterly charming Love SongAMG, “the mood is overwhelmingly dark and brooding.” AZ “This is exactly what Goths called romance in the ‘80s.” AD

Love Song

“The Cure’s gloomy soundscapes have rarely sounded so alluring, however, and the songs – from the pulsating, ominous Fascination StreetAMG – “a classic Cure track if ever there was one” AD – “to the eerie, string-laced Lullaby – have rarely been so well-constructed and memorable.” AMG “Robert Smith’s voice shakes like milk as he makes adolescent angst sound so wonderfully, wonderfully pretty.” RS “Here are songs of remembrance that, through their deep candor, transcend the individual level to explore universal longings and fears…Anyone who has experienced the joy and sorrow – especially the sorrow – of love will find his or her deepest sentiments, noble and petty alike, echoed poetically here.” AZ

Fascination Street

“It’s fitting that Disintegration was their commercial breakthrough, since, in many ways, the album is the culmination of all the musical directions the Cure were pursuing over the course of the ‘80s.” AMG “It scores over Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me slightly by sheer dint of its cohesion,” AD leaving the listener with an album “you can immerse yourself in.” AD


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