Single Review: Stone Roses “Love Spreads”

Love Spreads
Year: 1994
Album: Second Coming

In 1995, I was discovering music for the first time. I listened to whatever my ears heard: adult contemporary, pop, etc. But the music that appealed to me the most was grunge. The alternative genre talked frankly about abortion, alienation, and hurt. The lyrics in the songs didn’t hold any emotion back. Every scar was there for listener to hear. I was hooked. Hearing music that treated me like an intelligent person and didn’t condescend to me with silly cliché’s was refreshing.

In 1995, I heard briefly on the radio, “Love Spreads” by the popular Stone Roses. Unbeknownst to me, they were legends in Europe for their brilliant debut album titled Stone Roses, which was released in 1989. 1994’s Second Coming didn’t meet the great expectations people had, but their popularity still grew.

“Love Spreads” is a sharp, metaphorical single about being in love. Dark and smoldering, love is hinted at being crucified (by the narrator in the single) “Love spreads her arms/ waits there for the nails/I forgive you, boy/I will prevail/too much to take/come cross to bear.” Love, in the song, has also been raped (“she didn’t scream/she didn’t make a sound.”) However, the narrator is determined to make his love right again, mostly because he has good people on his side.

Ian Brown’s vocals are eerily calm. His voice is filled with quiet anger but yet it simmers with hope. However, by the chorus, he is threatening and assertive. The guitar licks are polished and sly. Each lick is commanding and entrenched in an undeniable, listenable hook.

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