The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses (1989)

My college years (84-88) were a time of great musical discovery for me.  All those great college radio bands that totally changed my life, from R.E.M. to the Replacements, Sonic Youth to Hüsker Dü, the Connells to the Feelies... the years that followed couldn't help but be a let-down.  Plus, as a college DJ, I had access to all the new releases that rolled into the station, and a community of like-minded peers constantly turning me on to new music.  When I arrived at law school in 1988, I found myself without a musical lifeline.

Plus, it did feel like we'd hit a dry spell, kind of holding our breath waiting for the next big thing (whether you view that as Nirvana and the more mainstream alt.rock bands, or indie bands like Pavement and Guided by Voices).

So when the Stone Roses' full-length debut came out in the spring of '89, it was a game-changer.  The music itself wasn't necessarily revolutionary, a blend of the retro-60s psychedelic jangle of Paisley Underground bands like the Rain Parade, and a more Britpop sensibility infused with the Jam and a bit of New Order.  But it was a much-needed reminder that there were still great new bands producing great new music, something that arrived just as I needed it most, an emotional pick-me-up that I played relentlessly when it came out.

The opening track, "I Wanna Be Adored," takes its own sweet time, slowly building into an entrancing anthemic groove.  From there it just gets better, with hopelessly infectious upbeat tracks like "She Bangs the Drums" and "Made of Stone," the more psychedelic pop of "Waterfall" (and its trippy backwards reprise "Don't Stop"), and, at least on the original US version I bought (later dropped), a remake of the deliriously peppy single "Elephant Stone."  

The album ends a little incongruously, with the lengthy, dance-floor-friendly "Fool's Gold," suggesting a move into a more shoegazey mode that might have come if the band hadn't disappeared for a number of years before a long overdue (and ultimately disappointing but underrated) follow-up in 1994.

Here's "I Wanna Be Adored":
...and "Waterfall":

Buy it on Amazon.  (There are a number of versions of this out there; I'd try to hunt down one of the Legacy Editions with a bonus disc of singles/b-sides.)