Song of the Week: “Going Down” by The Stone Roses

Song of the Week: “Going Down” by The Stone Roses
Made of Stone

Made of Stone

The Stone Roses were a pivotal band for me, as, indeed, 1989 was a pivotal year for music.  Decades by definition mark a transformation and the 80s, in particular, were years packed of culture very much in need of a reboot.

Musically, I can credit (my dear friend and drummer in many of my bands) Chazzie D. with pushing me somewhat reluctantly into the future.  I had been gradually embracing the likes of R.E.M. and the Smiths, but it was Chazzie who insisted that “Fools Gold” was a revelation. And, great as it is, that song was just the gateway drug. With their debut album, The Stone Roses had created a work of modern Mersey genius. It took a little while for the reason for my adoration to reveal itself and I think it could remain obscure to the casual listener.  On that first record, the Stone Roses were a dark, bitter, band. John Squire’s music belied the brutal anarchy in Ian Brown’s lyrics. Just as fellow Mancunian Johnny Marr was a cheery, intricate foil to Morrissey’s sexually ambiguous outsider lyrics, Squire’s flawless Beatles-inspired sense of melody and harmony were the perfect offset to Brown’s angst.

And so it was The Stone Roses that helped push me, not only backwards to a classic melodic base that I had grown up with, but also merged that with a growing interest in punk and forward to a mindset that put lyrics in a position of greater importance. I think the most striking example remains “Made of Stone.”

Sometimes I fantasize / When the streets are cold and lonely
And the cars they burn below me / Don’t these times fill your eyes

“Going Down” is one of the b-sides to this awkward single. Luckily for people of good taste, the Roses recorded at least another full album’s worth of b-sides before their much-publicized hiatus leading up the tragically disappointing and lackluster second album. (reportedly, John Squire strong-armed his way into a majority of the lyric-writing on Second Coming, resulting in a pastiche of tame peace and love and new-daddy pablum.)

While this song features little in the way of anarchic tendencies, it was always one of my fave Roses tracks.  With a simple, catchy melody and clocking in at under three minutes it’s a slice of perfect pop. Enjoy: