Unplugged review by Alice in Chains

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  • Released: Jan 1, 1996
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (110 votes)
Alice in Chains: Unplugged

Sound — 9
The transition from heavy drop D grunge to acoustic floats extremely well. Vocally and on an instrumental level, the songs bear a sense of sadness to them that is more apparent with the transition from electric to acoustic. Recorded for MTV: Unplugged, many fan favorites are included, such as Angry Chair and Would?, as well as most of the band's greatest hits, minus Man in A Box and Them Bones.

Lyrics — 9
Lyrically, this is Alice is Chains, which in itself should be enough to describe the quality of the lyrics. Vocally, Layne Staley is a mastermind. Sadly, due to his drug use, he does mess up during his singing duties on Sludge Factory - an incident that serves of a sad reminder of his struggle with drugs. While amazing, I find the vocal work pretty depressing, mainly because of knowing about Layne's condition, as well as the mood set by the acoustics.

Overall Impression — 9
As far as comparing it to other artists, I can't really think of a way to compare Alice in Chains, especially acoustically, to other groups. The introductory song Nutshell, as well as Angry Chair, being the acoustic rendition, both stand out to me. I love the album's vibe as a whole, it carries with it's brilliance a sense of melancholy that I think everyone could relate to in some way or another. Alice in Chains fans should check it out as well as non-fans alike. However, those looking for something upbeat and heavy, this isn't the place for you. Still, it's a album I suggest everyone check out.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Layne looks so strung out during this performance and he still managed to do a good job but i noticed jerry sang alot of parts though, im guessing because of laynes health?
    Sister Bob wrote: Confetti wrote: kop4 wrote: AIC is even better then Nirvana. There are other grunge bands way better than Nirvana, I don`t understand why people go crazy about this band.. Because Nirvana was the first. Grunge bloomed after Nirvana made it what it was. And Nirvana's Nevermind is still one of the best rock records of all time. Only grunge bands i would put before Nirvana is AIC and The Smashing Pumpkins, and Pumpkins didn't do their best work with the grunge record's, so i wouldn't say that Pumpkins is a better Grunge band then Nirvana. Understand? Nirvana was not the first. Alice in Chains were around long before Nirvana were, not to mention early incarnations of Pearl Jam (Green River, Mother Love Bone). And the Pixies? Come on. They were around before it all. Were Nirvana the first to start selling buttloads of records under this made up "genre"? Yes. Was Nevermind that great? In my opinion, no. But everyone has their own... Also, I'd like to point out that the Smashing Pumpkins were pretty far from grunge. Sure their earlier stuff drew HEAVILY from that loud-quiet-loud formula that Kurt liked to use, (Both Cobain and Corgan have admitted they stole that trick from the Pixies.) but the Pumpkins, being from Chicago rather than Seattle, fell juuuuust outside the wide and unclear umbrella that was grunge. Besides, they were closer to goth rock and later, far too electronically influenced to be labelled just grunge.
    nirvana's been around since the mid 80's they were called "fecal matter" at that time i think, but alice in chains may have been around longer than nirvana (not by much though) but that doesnt mean they were the first "grunge" band because at that time AIC was playing hair metal type stuff