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  • After “Facelift,” Alice In Chains were placed with the Metal/Grunge lable. Considered incredibly depressing, bleak and heavy, that must have made this release all the more surprising.Next to “Facelift” it’s a complete 180 turn. The tunes are soft, melodic and soothing. Still there is the bleakness, but not depressingly so…this whole album has a dreamy overtone that shows their psychedelic influences. Everything here is perfectly structured, the lyrics are wonderful, and even more impressing is the acoustic fill-ins by guitarist/co-songwriter Jerry Cantrell.Let’s go with the songs. “Brother” is very special to me, for various personal reasons, and the lyrics can be interpreted in almost any way to give a sense of hope. “Got Me Wrong,” with it’s groovy verses and unmistakable chorus, turned out to be one of AIC’s biggest radio hits ever, and it’s success pushed SAP to gold (and recently platinum) satus. I don’t like to pick best songs, espescially with a group as good as Alice In Chains, but if I had to pick one song they did as their best, “Got Me Wrong” would likely be the one. From there is “Right Turn” which features some of the leaders of the Seattle movement…Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Mark Arm of Mudhoney. The track is as good as any acoustic song AIC has done. And finally, there is “Am I Inside?” written by vocalist Layne Staley, and Cantrell. It’s dreamy and coaxing, and must be one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard.The material here is dark, like I said, but not depressing. The best frame to listen to this is after a hard day, just sit down and enjoy it from start to finish, it really helps you unwind. There aren’t as many obvious drug referances as their other albums, and Staley’s voice is better than ever. The goofy hidden track is quite funny, but I’m not sure if it belongs here…I can’t really say if this is their best album, maybe it isn’t…but I listen to this more than any of the others, because it’s easier to listen to. One thing is for sure…if you are a huge AIC fan (like me) or are thinking of becoming one, this album is an absolute must have. It is well worth the price of a regular CD.

    Posted on February 23, 2010