Sound — 10
After Alice In Chains released their masterpiece "Dirt" i dont think anyone knew what to expect from them after. Replacing the heavy Sabbath-like riffs and dark acoustic ballads, i think Alice In Chains wrote the perfect follow up to Dirt. Shedding a little more light on Layne Staley's addiction. The whole album is dark and depressing (save for maybe the final track "Swing On This") but there seems to be a little light shining through the dark lyrics. YOu will be hooked to this acoustic ep right from the start of "Rotten apple" to the swingy "Swing On This".
Lyrics — 10
01. Rotten Apple- a perfect start to this album. Definently one of the darkest tracks written by AIC. Layne's vocals are at there darkest and the lyrics seem to be about losing childhood innocence, eating the forbidden apple from the tree. Jerry Cantrell has a very strange sound to his guitar which suits the strange sound of the whole song. Mike Inez's AIC album debut is an excellent one and Sean Kinney's drums are excellent as always. Definently an underrated masterpiece. 02. Nutshell- my personal favorite by Alice In Chains. I actually did a report on this song my freshman year in high school and got like my only A that whole year cuz of it. The acoustic guitar is just so soulful and dark yet beautiful. Laynes vocals and lyrics are perfect... bottomline. The wordless croon in the chorus is hauntingly beautiful and Jerry's solo at the end is one of the most beautiful and soulful and underrated pieces ever. Its no wonder this song has been covered so many times by so many bands (i even saw a video of Chris Daughtry covering it). I definently want this song played at my funeral. Perfect. 03. I Stay Away- I actually think this song is a little overrated but what i really do like about this song is it's originality. Laynes Vocals are also again, haunting and very unique. The lyrics dont make much sense, but you know what? they still kick ass. Def a lot of soul went into this track. 04. No Excuses- Another one of my favorites and a perfect example of how well Layne and Jerry's vocals mesh. It's a track made perfectly for the radio but it's not cheesy in any way (take that Fall Out Boy, fuckin pussies). Another one of the highlights, at least to me, is the bluesy solo. Another great track. 05. Whale & Wasp- lyrics? who the fuck needs lyrics. Jerry puts so much emotion into this instrumental. If you close your eyes you can actually see it being played at a funeral... Layne's unfortunately. It actually scared the shit outta my younger cousin when she first heard it... its dark and thats what i love about it. Sure its not as long as one of Metallicas intrumental (which, dont get get me wrong i love metallica, tend to get boring) its short, sweet and to the point. Excellent. 06. Don't Follow- This shows off AIC's bluesier side. Jerry's warm vocals and lightly finger picked guitar leaves and image in your head of him playing in a bar just for a handle of Jack. It also features a harmonica which i love... Is there noting Alice In chains cant do? But thats not all... it gets better in the bridge when Jerry starts strumming and Layne just goes all out. Could be about a relationship with girls or Jerrys relationship with Layne. whatever it is its great. 07. Swing On This- first AIC showed off some blues, now, swing and a little bit of a country influenece. I actually despised this song but it grew on me and I actually its new, fresh and unique. Layne vocals are once again haunting and the chorus will make you shit yourself. layne seems to be talking about his relationship with a girl, family and friends because of his heroin abuse. Great ending to a great album.
Overall Impression — 10
This album definently does not compare with any one else album just because of the originality. All of the songs are highlights and the only thing that could possibly make this album better is more songs, but then again that would probably take away all of the power and energy that these 7 masterpieces give off so, scratch that. I love the power and soul that the whole band puts into it. This is definently Alice In Chains at their performance peak before they slipped on the tripod album (which is still a way better performance than a lot of other artists performance). I actually kinda stole this album from my mom and she stole it from one of her friends who was goin to jail and I already have the album saved on my computer so I wouldn't be too pissed if someone stole it seein how I stole it but it would still piss me off because it's a masterpiece from my favorite band damn it.