Review Summary: Pure dirt.
Greatest hits collections are often a pain in the ass to review, because they're always nothing but the biggest singles from a band's career. Recently, bands have added a new song to the hits album, so there can be something new in the album along with the previously released songs. However, greatest hits albums are always nothing but the most popular songs slapped together in one album, meant only to attract new fans, as current fans will already have their material.
With that being said, Alice in Chains' greatest hits collection is disappointing. The Layne Staley era of the band consisted of three albums, two EPs and one unplugged album. With nine years of material, they managed to scrape together ten
songs for their greatest hits. All of Alice's albums had more than ten songs, and their greatest hits album only has ten songs. Why couldn't they just make a singles collection? They released tons of singles during their career.
Alice's first album, Facelift
, was released in 1990. We get one song from Facelift
, "Man in the Box" which is arguably the most popular song by the band, and their breakthrough hit. Opening with a thundering, addictive riff and pounding drums, it kicks off the album with a bang. This song is notable for Staley's cries of "FEED MY EYES!" in the chorus, and propelled them to stardom. However, we aren't given anymore songs from Facelift
, even though there were three more singles, "We Die Young", "Bleed the Freak" and "Sea of Sorrow". The exclusions of the latter two are justifiable, as they weren't that famous, but "We Die Young" was one of the band's most popular songs, and should have been included.
, the band's second album, is the best represented here. Often called one of the finest albums in the entire genre of grunge, four of the album's five singles show up on this compilation. "Them Bones", "Rooster", "Angry Chair" and "Would?" all are included, and they're all great songs. One must ask, though, where is "Down in a Hole"? The band's big ballad, one of their more melodic songs, and one of their biggest hits, it is surprisingly absent from this album. Overall, the Dirt
section is pretty decent.
, we get two tracks from the Jar of Flies
EP, the first EP to debut at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts, and often regarded as one of the best EPs of all time. Two of the four singles from the EP are included, "No Excuses" and "I Stay Away", leaving out "Don't Follow" and "Whale & Wasp". The exclusion of these two are understandable, as they were nothing but small blips on the Alternative charts.
The last three tracks, "Grind", "Heaven Beside You" and "Again" are all from the band's eponymous third album, and they luckily didn't leave anything out from there. However, the fact that Alice in Chains' greatest hits consists of nothing but ten songs baffles me. It's not that the quality of the songs aren't good; in fact, they're all great. It's the poor choice of song selection that's disappointing. Songs like "We Die Young" and "Down in a Hole" should have been included on the album, as well as something from the Sap
EP or the Unplugged
performance, preferably "Over Now".
This album isn't for anyone. If you're already a fan, there's nothing new here for you. If you're just getting into the band, just get their CDs. It's a better representation of the band than this pile of dirt.