Alice In Chains’ Dirt
is the coolest album ever. Not the best, but the coolest. I mean, the songs just reek with cool. And superb gloom, which is why some days when you listen to this album, you feel like Dirt
. The depression, suicide, drugs and beer definitely found their way onto the disc. Just look at the track names. Hate To Feel
is about AIC’s singer, Layne Staley, getting into drugs when he was a teenager. God Smack
’s lyrics seem vague and drugged-up:
Originally Posted by God Smack
Care not for the men who wonder, straw that broke your back you’re under. Cast them all aside who care, empty eyes and dead end stare.
But that’s not to say that all of the songs are spacey, melancholy and depressing. The two openers, Them Bones
and Dam That River
are brimming with grungy angst in the lyrics and music. That’s the style of music on Dirt
, though. Easily one of the best grunge albums ever (in fact, I can’t think up of one that measures up to it), the disc is overflowing with raw emotion.
The instrumentation is enjoyable; there is clearly talent in the group. Every song on here has a rippin’ solo, and as guitarist Jerry Cantrell said himself in Guitar World
: “Every solo on Dirt
is prime, smoking ***.” That’s a rather well put statement, although a little immodest, because there is next to no difficult soloing. Obviously Mr. Cantrell puts more effort into feeling than he does technicality. This is a good thing in this case, as a John Pertrucci-type guitarist would take away from the general feel of the album. That’s what AIC and grunge is all about, too: feel.
But as my good friend Something Vague once said: “This album is good, but it also sucks.” That’s a very true statement for two reasons: Junkhead
and Angry Chair
. That’s not the only reason why it partially sucks, though. All of the tracks, including the mediocres, have a very immediate effect, but seem to wear off more and more every listen. But every once in a while, you can’t resist picking this baby up and popping in the old speaker system. You could even just switch from classic to classic (which is what I usually do) or listen to the whole thing. It’s irresistible.
The album on the whole is decent, but there are two songs that are virtually journeys through the swamp of suicide in themselves. Rooster
is the song that got me interested in AIC, so I suppose I have something of a bond with it. The heavy-on-effects chord progression at the start brings a tear to my eye every time, and that heavy chorus…wow. If you just skip Junkhead
in order to get to the title track, it will pay off. As Cathedral said, “[The title track] is the song you want to hear last if you are trying to get into AIC.” You just wallow through it, and the entire time you feel depressed and grungy.
Alas, sometimes this album is a 91%
, but others it is worthy of a 64%
. Don’t listen to it in a good mood, ever. One day you’ll say you love it, and the other you will wonder what is so good about grunge anyway. So those opinions balance, and the album gets a:
(+)Gloooooooooomy as death itself
(+)Love it sometimes…
(-)Hate it others