The Stone Roses by Alex Green is, so far, one of the best books from the 33 1/3 series by Continuum Books. I think a lot of it has to do with his style which is personal, passionate, engaging, witty, as well as informative. He loves music and knows a lot about it and demonstrates that music can carry very deep personal associations as well. But occasionally it can transcend emotional associations and predictability and become a sort of personal classic-this album is one of those for him. I think this album has stood the test of time very well, but I'm not sure I can say the same. It is by far the best thing from the late 80s Manchester scene in my opinion, though. So it is befitting that these personal links be explored as well. I think he does a particularly good job of providing the context from which this record was made as well as the context of what it was in relation to other driving forces of music-particularly independent (alternative) or what was then known as college music. I know and understand these references, because Green is the same age as me we and, generally, listen to the same music. However, he was much more passionate and willing to shell-out the cash for the music he needed. For example, he mentions how The Stone roses bridged the gap between indie rock and the rave dance culture. As he states, there was an absence of dance music among what he calls the Westgergians (a truly fitting title for the indie rock guys like me-I didn't really "get" dance music until I came to Japan in 97', but I still profess to be mainly a Westbergian). This was demonstrated by one of my old room mates Gaje, who worked at the college radio station DJing and reviewing records for them, put on what I imagine to be either "Elephant Stone or "I Want To Be Adored" when his, the-room mate, Greg, burst into the room shimming to the record-and if I remember correctly Greg was a Westbergian if there ever was one.
He basically does all this by writing, in essence, a separate essay with a different theme for each song along with a prologue and epilogue. These sections are complete with fitting epigraphs from various sources (songs by Elvis Costello and The Smiths, literary quotes-from Goethe-Byron-Wilde, sound-bites from The Stones Roses and Noel Gallagher). Furthermore, he provides the history of the Manchester scene and the rise of rave culture which begat and influenced this record. He also gets a variety of musicians to make observations about the band and the record (from obscure bands that I used to listen to like The Woodentops, The MIghty Lemons, and Posies). A very enjoyable and nostalgic read-highly recommended.