Recently, I’ve been enjoying trying to decipher the meaning behind certain Stone Roses songs.
These are songs that I might have been listening to for over thirty years in some cases, wthout giving proper thought to the meaning of the lyrics.
The main song I’ve had a go at deciphering is I am The Resurrection. The main lyric – I am the resurrection and I am the life – is of course a biblical reference, and if I’m not mistaken, Ian Brown always claimed to have seen it outside a church and decided to pinch it.
However, it’s the second line in the chorus that I’ve always wondered about. To me, it always sounded like a bit of a throwaway line. In fact, I’ve worked out that it’s key to the whole meaning of the song.
The lyric is, “I couldn’t ever bring myself to hate you as I’d like.” It is my belief that the writer/writers of this song (ie. either Ian Brown or Squire or the two combined) are placing themselves in the position of Christ, imagining that He wished He could have been allowed the opportunity to hate many of the people he encountered in His life, rather than having to stick to God’s remit of having to love them all.
With this in mind, what might sound like a throwaway lyric, is in fact the key lyric to the song, as every other lyric in the verse parts now make sense:
“Your face it has no place, no room for you inside my house, I need to be alone”
“I couldn’t stand another second in your company”
etc. etc. And it’s most likely that the songwriter is simply bedded up with a woman, perhaps someone they have recently met, and just do not want any company (you would assume then that in terms of interpreting the song, it’s at this point that comparisons between Christ and the songwriter might go out the window, although let’s face it, I’m sure there’s a lot of Jesus’ personal life that is kept out of the bible).
This does however then come back to the title of the song. Most likely Ian has just had the best sex in his then young life, has walked out and seen the sign outside a church declaring I am the Resurrectiion and just said, “yes!” Or he could have done anything worthy of celebration (I’ve potentially leapt to a conclusion).
The next lyric I’d like to consider is from Sugarspun Sister. The part we can consider from the chorus section says,
“Until the sky turns green/
The grass is several shades of blue”
The obvious literal meaning is that ‘until the virtually impossible happens.” I think it’s possible the Roses might have been speaking about a grass, literally again, but in the sense of being an informant, or someone going to the police (the police are often referred to as, or at least used to be, the boys in blue).
From a more personal point of view, having just spend time in a psychiatric unit where those in green (nursing assistants) appear, at least to service users, to be doing a lot more (at least more close contact work) for ‘inmates’ than those in blue uniforms (the nurses who spend most of their time in the office), maybe it’s about time things were redressed in terms of pay structures for the greens etc.
The next song I’d like to have a look at is the last, or at least, most recent, Stone Roses song, and this is Beautiful Thing:
There was no crucifixion
Just lies to steal your mind
Now I know that you’re thinking
That I’m running out of time
Sister must have missed ya
I don’t wanna steal your shine
There’s method to my madness
Yes, there’s reason to my rhyme
When Ian talks about running out of time – what is he referring to specifically? Does he mean he knows he’s getting on a bit himself, or is he referring to the clock scientists refer to with regard to “how close to midnight” the human race is, and similar things related to time? Is he speculating on how we are close to some…thing…not quite specified, a time of beauty?
The most significant lyric for me is “Sister must have missed ya/I don’t wanna steal your shine.” I think this is a particularly potent lyric reflecting on the way that, over time, people might show how, irrespective of things that may have occurred, people can still have feelings for particular people, and so, if reunited perhaps, the spark might be rekindled. It’s a bit hard for me to express exactly what I mean by this. I think particularly in the case of trauma, a woman – the sister in this case – will still hold someone in someone’s regard, which can then become abundantly apparent.
That’s about all for the time being, although one other point I will make is that for all of that time during the flockdowns that Ian said he was communicating via someone else’s phone, I believe him. Why should this not be the case? He might have had his phone stolen. He might have decided to give up using a mobile phone. Worst case scenario, he might have been detained somewhere where he was not allowed the use of a phone himself.
Sometimes, people jump to conclusions too quickly.