Track Review – Beautiful Thing / The Stone Roses

Understandably, looking at the length of ‘Beautiful Thing’ and seeing 7 minutes might excite long time fans of The Stone Roses. Just look at what they’ve done with that time before. But actually, their first comeback single ‘All For One’ works much better than ‘Beautiful Thing’. Not only did that song aim for modern pop-rock in a short, snappy 4 minutes, but the production showed the Stone Roses in the modern era could make pop songs with clarity and decisiveness. It was refreshing, even if the formidable rhythm section was reduced to a backdrop. ‘Beautiful Thing’ is an overlong, tedious piece of wah-wah indulgence that fans might like, but doesn’t show the Stone Roses to be reuniting with anything other than nostalgia.

Ian Brown mumbles vague lyrics about ‘stay so high’ and cliches like ‘There’s method to my madness / Yes, there’s reason to my rhyme’, it’s almost like he’s taking notes from the DIIV songbook, or perhaps that’s vice versa. I’m pretty sure there’s at least two guitar solos, but it merges together so blurrily that it’s hard to pick out a key moment. In fact, there’s no distinguishable moments in the entire song, it’s just a scratchy guitar with a wah pedal and some particularly funky drums and bass for seven minutes. Mani, bassist, and Reni, drummer, do get a bit more of a say within this song though, and play a larger position in the construction of the jammier sections. But it’s just a shame that they have to put their names more firmly on this than Squire did on ‘All For One’. Still, there’s been worse reunion songs.