Stone Roses - Second Coming (Vinyl)

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Second Coming is the second and final studio album by English rock band the Stone Roses, released through Geffen Records on 5 December 1994 in the UK.[1] It was recorded at Forge Studios in Oswestry, Shropshire and Rockfield Studios near Monmouth in Wales between 1992 and 1994.

The second album by the Manchester four-piece, it suffered greatly at the time from the sheer weight of expectation generated by both the 5½ year gap between it and the band's eponymous debut, and the band's withdrawal from the live arena for 4½ of those years. There had been speculation in the British press that the high expectations from their debut record had left the band "paralyzed with self-doubt" according to LA Times pop music critic Robert Hilburn. In addition, the Stone Roses made their return to a changed musical environment, having to compete with a new generation of Britpop bands. The album reached number 4 in the UK Album Chart.

Three singles ("Love Spreads", "Ten Storey Love Song", and "Begging You") from the album were released in the UK.

The album cover, created by Squire, features a dark, fabric-like collage of photographs, artwork, text and symbols. Most notable is a stone cherub, taken from a photograph of those found on the Newport Town Bridge, smoking a cigarette. The original photograph was later used for the "Love Spreads" single. The liner notes feature black and white photographs of the band members as children.


Whatever the hype; whatever the sense of disappointment; whatever they try to tell you about it … this album just plain rocks. I’m sorry, but there it is. Yes, I understand why many critics, or indeed RYM reviewers, may have taken the hard-line approach to Second Coming given that the Stone Roses’ debut was unquestionably one of the most critically-acclaimed albums of all-time, but that seems to me to be a harsh stance to take when judging this belated follow-up release in isolation.

Let’s get one thing straight – seldom can a band replicate its own masterpiece or seminal work. I’m struggling to recall too many bands to have achieved such a feat. Did The Beatles surpass Revolver with Sgt Pepper? – maybe, maybe not. Will Radiohead ever better OK Computer? – hmmmm, it’s doubtful.

Actually, name a band that has managed successive “five star” albums for its first two releases? Thought not.

When the Stone Roses released their self-titled debut, an album of sublime quality, they made a rod for their own backs. It could never be replicated, and even if they had attempted to do that, then I’m quite sure those same critics would have condemned the band as being something of a one trick pony. What didn’t help their cause however, was the five-year hiatus between releases.

During that period of downtime, the Stones Roses were beset with a whole range of “issues”, collectively and individually, but the sense of expectation from fans and critics alike became perhaps the biggest problem of all. I guess the great shame is that this one was not only their follow-up, but it was also their swansong.

Second Coming is a fine album, and thankfully, quite different to the debut effort in several ways. It certainly has a much harder edge to it than the debut, with guitarist John Squire far more prominent than ever before. Squire’s contribution to Second Coming was quite simply immense, and in many respects he took over from Ian Brown as the key individual within the foursome, such is the emphasis placed on his work. One of the key factors to the success of the first album was Brown’s rich vocal contribution. On Second Coming, Squire’s guitar takes charge with a strong performance on every track. While Brown remained a decent enough vocalist, his input here is often over-shadowed by that of his colleague.

Lyrically, Second Coming struggles somewhat, but the trademark structure of each tune helps overcome this to some extent, with the flowery retro Sixties influence still very much evident throughout. In fact, the basic modus operandi of the band remained essentially the same; Music to dance to, music to drink (and sway) to, music to lay on the sofa to, music to wash dishes to. That familiar, almost Hip-Hop-lite, slightly off-beat drumming, with that solid laidback bass, warm vocals and layered harmonies, yet the “RocknRoll factor” is turned up tenfold thanks to mainly to Squire’s craftsmanship.

If there is a criticism, it would be that despite the advances in technology made between 1989 and 1994, the production rather pales in comparison to that found on the crisp debut effort … which, it could be argued, was ahead of its time anyway. That, and the feeling that Second Coming does drag a bit through the middle stages – a great opening, a slightly laboured middle portion, before it rocks out solidly over the closing stages.

This album rates strongly alongside the best that the rest of the pre-Brit-Pop era had to offer. Yes, it probably was a major let-down to their hardcore fanbase, or those who expected the world with bells on, or the moon on a bloody stick, but for me it is the sound of a harder, less naïve band that had understandably moved on.

Highlights: ‘Breaking Into Heaven’ (love the indulgent intro), ‘Ten Storey Lovesong’, ‘Tears’ (the best track on the album for me), ‘How Do You Sleep’, and the much maligned single ‘Love Spreads’. But there are no obvious weak moments really, and it remains one of those albums that you can play from start to finish – despite the aforementioned shortcomings.

Don’t listen to the malcontents, hell, don’t even listen to me - just listen to Second Coming and judge for yourself.

. "Breaking into Heaven" 11:21
2. "Driving South" 5:09
3. "Ten Storey Love Song" 4:29
4. "Daybreak"  6:33
5. "Your Star Will Shine" 2:59
6. "Straight to the Man" 3:15
7. "Begging You" 4:56
8. "Tightrope" 4:27
9. "Good Times" 5:40
10. "Tears" 6:50
11. "How Do You Sleep" 4:59
12. "Love Spreads" 5:46

Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Geffen Records, Inc.
Copyright © – Geffen Records, Inc.
Published By – Copyright Control
Manufactured By –
Pressed By – GZ Digital Media – 101095E
Backing Vocals, Drums – Reni
Bass – Mani
Engineer – Paul Schroeder, Simon Dawson
Guitar – John Squire
Producer – Paul Schroeder, Simon Dawson
Vocals – Ian Brown