Ian Brown has shared his new single ‘First World Problems’ and announced ‘Ripples’, his first solo album in nine years.
The musician teased his return earlier this week, with posters advertising the new track spotted in Liverpool. This follows a similar pattern to when The Stone Roses plastered their iconic ‘Lemon Posters’ across Manchester in 2016 – before returning with new music and tour dates.
Having not released a solo album since ‘My Way’ in 2009‘, it was rumoured that Brown was working on material away from the Roses since last year.
Now, he has shared ‘First World Problems’ and confirmed ‘Ripples’ will be released on March 1, 2019. Listen to the album’s first single below.
Fans seem divided over the song with some praising the track and others writing of their disappointment.
“The new Ian Brown tune is a 0/10,” a listener wrote, while another likened it to Primal Scream‘s track ‘Loaded’. Another also noticed the similarities, posting a picture of Bobby Gillespie’s unimpressed face, captioning it: “when you hear the new ian brown song”
The new Ian Brown tune is a 0/10
— . (@NaziBasher) October 26, 2018
Is Ian Brown's first world problem, nicking Loaded from Primal Scream?
— Si Farrier (@SimonFarrier1) October 26, 2018
when you hear the new ian brown song pic.twitter.com/zym9DAgBqL
— nihilist dad (@kid_smoke) October 26, 2018
The reviews weren’t all bad, with one fan writing: “Sorry I’m not hip enough to slate it but I quite like that new Ian Brown tune,” while another added: “always loved ian brown’s solo work, very experimental and groooovy.”
Sorry I'm not hip enough to slate it but I quite like that new Ian Brown tune
— Adam Donnelly (@18Donnelly) October 26, 2018
always loved ian brown’s solo work, very experimental and groooovy
— chester draws (@SugarSpunHope) October 26, 2018
One fan praised the track and commented on the possibility of a Stone Roses reunion. “First time I heard it this morning. Grown on me already. Me thinks it’s gonna be an Ian Brown day while working. As for the Stone Roses… I think that ship has already sailed. Be surprised if they did anything else together,” they wrote.
First time I heard it this morning. Grown on me already. Me thinks it’s gonna be an Ian Brown day while working. ? As for the Stone Roses… I think that ship has already sailed. Be surprised if they did anything else together.
— Matt Lawrence (@Gills_Mod) October 26, 2018
Another said that the new song reminded them of Brown’s debut solo album. “First World Problems by @ianbrown takes me back to my Huddersfield days, listening to Unfinished Monkey Business as a teenager,” they wrote.
First World Problems by @ianbrown takes me back to my Huddersfield days, listening to Unfinished Monkey Business as a teenager …
— Michael S. Taylor (@MickSTaylor) October 26, 2018
Brown produced the new record and wrote most of its tracks. He co-wrote three songs from the album with his sons, who also play various instruments across the LP. ‘Ripples’ was recorded in Liverpool, with some enhancement done on it in “The Beatles room” at Abbey Road Studios.
It also features covers of Barrington Levy’s ‘Black Roses’ and Mikey Dread’s ‘Break Down The Walls’. The full tracklist is as follows:
‘First World Problems’
‘Breathe And Breathe Easy (The Everness Of Now)’
‘The Dream And The Dreamer’
‘From Chaos To Harmony’
‘It’s Raining Diamonds’
‘Blue Sky Day’
‘Break Down The Walls (Warm Up Jam)’
Last summer, rumours began to circulate that the Manchester legends’ show in Glasgow would be their last – before comments made by Brown during the show seemed to confirm that the band had come to an end once again.
As the gig at Hampden Park drew to a close, Brown told the crowd: “Don’t be sad it’s over, be happy that it happened.”
Sources close to the band then claimed that Brown had been in the studio working on his next solo album. Meanwhile, documents on the Government’s Companies House show that ‘Second Touring Limited’ (which was set up by the band in 2015) had its First Gazette notice for compulsory strike-off in October. This meant that the company was struck off the register and dissolved on December 24, 2017.
“It’s not official 100% confirmed that they’ve stopped, but it looks like they have, doesn’t it?” Roses biographer and journalist John Robb told NME. “The thing about those guys, is that nothing is ever certain with The Stone Roses. That’s one of the things that made them such an interesting band.
“I love Manic Street Preachers, but there’s a certainty to them. That’s not a criticism of them, just that you know they’ll all be in the Manics for the rest of their lives. The thing about The Roses, is that from day one that band could have combusted at any moment. Their brilliance is so fleeting and hard to grasp, that it disappears. They get it in their hands, then they just let it go again.”
The Stone Roses initially reformed in 2011 and played London’s Wembley Stadium earlier this summer – their first gig in the capital for four years. Fans were also eagerly hoping for a new album from the band, after they released the singles ‘All For One’ and ‘Beautiful Thing’ in 2016