Music

The Stone Roses - "All For One" (Singles Going Steady)

The Stone Roses' "All For One" sounds like a lost collector's item from Britpop's heyday that finally barreled through some studio's dust-laden amplifiers.

Emmanuel Elone: For a comeback song, "All For One" is extremely solid. The descending chord progression feels vibrant and full thanks to some fantastic guitar tone, and the drums are crisp and steady. Ian Brown's vocals are relaxed yet prominent as he croons a catchy melody and chorus. The only issues is the guitar solo on the bridge; while sweet, it feels out of place on the song. Still, it's been two decades since the band broke up, yet they've returned to form as if it's been only a couple of years. For that alone, they've solidified their position as one of the better British jangle pop bands of the '90s, right alongside the likes of the Smiths. [8/10]

Ian King: Jackson Pollock, Sarah Gainham, and now... Alexandre Dumas? It's that third repetition of the Three Musketeers slogan passing as a verse that seriously undercuts the positive things that this song has going for it: the nice fade-in, the galloping beat, Ian Brown and John Squire sounding like Brown and Squire. But, Ian, you probably could have tried a bit harder, yeah? You start the song by singing the same two lines, only one of which is actually yours, three times in a row. The repetition of those bland lyrics have the unfortunate side effect of making John's guitar riff seem too repetitive as well. The melody of the chorus is solid enough, but its arrival has already been compromised, and it doesn't go anywhere interesting enough to save it. Bland positivity was never the Roses' strong suit.

Make no mistake, though: this is all our fault. The Stone Roses should be able to live off the royalties from their own records and all the other records they've made individually (the Seahorses, Ian Brown's solo albums, etc.). But the Internet age and music piracy means all bands past their prime must now find it within themselves to carry on and play festivals and make new music that they'd probably rather not have to make if they ever want to retire with enough to live on. Everyone on this planet should own a copy of The Stone Roses, and everyone should have had to pay $10 to $15 dollars for it. It's worth at least twice that. More, even. It's priceless. That record is an 11 out of 10, and no band that has made an album that unbelievably brilliant should ever be asked to try to do it again. [3/10]

Kevin Korber: It could have been worse, I guess. We could have gotten Second Coming again. (Oh, don’t go acting like “Love Spreads” wasn’t terrible.) And quite frankly, it’s a relief to hear a new Stone Roses song that features the Roses playing like a band, with no one dominating the proceedings the way that John Squire did in the mid-'90s. Having said that, “All For One” isn’t good. It didn’t have to be great, but it doesn’t even quite get to “passable". The vocal echoes don’t do a whole lot to disguise how much Ian Brown’s vocals have deteriorated over the years, and the repetitive riff and lyrics imply a lack of ideas on the band’s part. Still, Mani and Reni’s interplay is so natural that they almost rescue the song, it’s a real pleasure to hear that old rhythm section again. Still, while this could’ve ended up being much, much worse, one can’t help but feel underwhelmed by the fact that the first new Stone Roses song in years turned out to be... this. [4/10]

Pryor Stroud: The Britpop pandemonium of the early to mid-'90s can largely be attributed to the Stone Roses and their alchemical fusion of Beatlesque guitar-pop, '60s jangle-rock, and brazen, dance-ready percussion. In "All For One", the band's first release in over two decades, all of these elements return in full force; it's by no means a stylistic evolution for the Manchester trendsetters, yet it serves as a raucous and welcome affirmation of what made their sound so colossally influential in the first place -- punk-kid arrogance, exhilarating melodic energy, and a keen awareness of pop's past and this past's hold on the present. Propelled by an anthemic vocal melody and a locomotive, spinning-out-of-control, spark-spitting electric guitar riff, it sounds like a lost collector's item from Britpop's heyday that finally barreled through some studio's dust-laden amplifiers. If the lyric didn't smack of a corny faux-rebelliousness -- "All for one, one for all / If we all join hands, we'll make a wall" -- then "All For One" might compete with some of the Roses' best work from the '90s, but this clumsy wordplay reveals the underlying truth of the record: this is a song by 50-something-year-old men who, in all likelihood, have totally lost their grip on the zeitgeist. [7/10]

John Bergstrom: I honestly can't decide what's more depressing, that "All For One" is the first Stone Roses song many people will ever hear, or that it is a Stone Roses song at all. [3/10]

Chris Ingalls: It's their first piece of new music in more than 20 years, and a strong one at that. An insistent shuffle beat chugs along in a manner that's both effortless and urgent. Some guilty-pleasure classic rock guitar soloing in the middle gives the song a nice psychedelic edge. The song sort of comes and goes without saying much, but its simplicity is a big part of its appeal. This is a solid single that serves as the Stone Roses' mic drop of 2016. [6/10]

Chad Miller: Features a nice melody with a decent guitar backing and solo. The vocals are the main attraction here though not with any thanks to the lyrics. Singing "All for one / one for all" carries no impact due to its overuse, and some of the lines are just awkwardly phrased. [6/10]

Jordan Blum: This is a band I've always meant to listen to. I've heard a lot about them. I dig this track; it's straightforward and it doesn't offer anything especially new, but I like the overarching psychedelic vibe (especially on the vocals), and it's got strong hooks. It feels retro and fresh, and the guitar parts (and tone) are especially alluring. It's a solid, quick rocker. [7/10]

SCORE: 5.50


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