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CD Review: The Stone Roses (20th Anniversary Edition)

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The Deal: Bad-ass debut from Manchester lads The Stone Roses gets re-mastering, extras treatment.

The Good: You knew The Stone Roses was special from the moment "I Wanna Be Adored" emerged from its intro haze into sinister focus and Ian Brown began insisting upon your worship. The cock-sure solipsism of that opening and the rest of the ecstasy-fueled lyrics – "I Am The Resurrection," anyone? – might've been laughable if the band hadn't conveyed it with ultimate self-confidence and chops to match. Guitarist John Squire brought the wah-wah back from its punk-rock exile and wisely married it with Byrds' chime; producer John Leckie draped the melodies in druggy reverb; and the Manchester quartet bridged the psychedelic, pop and dance (read "Rave") worlds. Unfortunately, The Stone Roses entered label/lawsuit purgatory after this, effectively killing the momentum the debut engendered – which less-talented lunk-heads like Oasis rushed in to capitalize on. It was six years before the Roses' desultory letdown – The Second Coming – emerged, and the band imploded before that tour even ended. This expanded package includes two more discs – The Lost Demos and The Extras – and a live show/videos DVD. Most demos packages only prove the sausage-making is best left unheard, but this set is interesting because the songs sound so solid even shorn of their effects, while high-quality extras like "Going Down," "Mersey Paradise" and "Where Angels Play" suggest how great that sophomore record could've been.

The Bad: Extras like "Full Fathom Five" and "Guernica" show how quickly drugs and backmasking lead to self-indulgency.

The Verdict: Still sounds fresh 20 years later.

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