So this is it. ‘All For One’ – the track Stone Roses fans have waited over 20 years to hear.
And what a mighty return it is. Clocking in at just 3 mins 36 seconds, ‘All For One’ is a song about unity and friendship that celebrates the bond between Ian, John, Mani and Reni – and it’s catchy as hell.
The big question, of course, was what it would sound like. Since their 2012 reunion, Stone Roses live shows have tended to focus much more on material from their 1989 debut than 1994’s follow-up, ‘Second Coming’.
You might have expected that the band would attempt to recreate the sound of their early singles; instead, they’ve given us a song that’s pitched somewhere between the two, with a big, poppy chorus (like much of the debut) and a bloody massive guitar solo (like much of Second Coming).
Where Ian Brown’s solo work has seen him exploring the cosmos in his lyrics, ‘All For One’ is much more down-to-earth and direct: “All for one/One for all/If we all join hands we’ll make a wall,” runs one repeated line, and it’s hard not to think that he’s talking purely about the band, who’ve created a bulletproof barrier of silence around them since their return, refusing to talk to the press at all since that first conference. “Chemistry, all one family,” says another telling line.
Reaction to the song online has been overwhelmingly positive because it’s genuinely great to have new material from this special band. It’s not the greatest song of the year. It’s not the greatest Roses song. But it’s a track that shows the band can still tap into the essence of what made – and makes – them brilliant.
It takes a special band to have people huddling around radios to hear a new track, to make a country sit up and listen in unison, as happened at 7.50pm tonight.
And one thing’s for sure – ‘All For One’ is destined to go down a beer-swigging storm when the band play their mega-gigs at the Manchester Etihad Stadium next month. This is an anthem for the terraces, the band and – most importantly – the fans.
Let’s hope there’s plenty more where it came from.