Why is Alice in Chains’ Facelift on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Lots of AiC in slower-paced grunge mode? Yes please.
Some stats & info about Alice in Chains – Facelift
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock, Hard Rock, Rock Music, Grunge, Alternative Rock, Alternative Metal, Indie Rock, Seattle Bands
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 3.5 out of 5 stars
- When was Facelift released? 1990
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #830 out of 1,000
Alice in Chains’ Facelift on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.
What does Alice in Chains’ Facelift mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
I’ll note up top that Alice in Chains is a massively talented band that you’ll see pop up a number of times on the best 1,000 albums ever list. That said, I have very specific opinions when it comes to AiC: I tend to enjoy the band most when they are either in slower-paced grunge-y mode or particularly when they’re in acoustic mode versus the faster paced and metal-ier stuff.
“Love, Hate, Love” falls right into the former category and therefore I love-not hate-love it (see what I did there?). It’s deliciously slow and grungetastic while still having super clean production that allows Lane Staley’s stunning vocals to shine through the gloom. Pretty cool take, too, from AiC guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell:
Cantrell called “Love, Hate, Love” the “masterpiece of that record,” adding about the song that Staley’s vocals are “amazing” and that it features one of his favorite guitar solos he ever performed.
I wasn’t even planning about writing specifically about “It Ain’t Like That,” but it just happens to follow “Love, Hate, Love” on the album and I’m pretty blown away by it at the moment. It’s got a prettily clean metal hook and chunky grunge-y chords that again have extremely impressive sound production and stellar vocals.
And I greatly enjoy “Bleed the Freak” for much the same reasons, and it’s probably one of the more accessible songs on the album (despite its dark title and lyrical content).
You might be reading through to this part and now you’re all, “Wait, Eric, where’s the part where you talk about the smash hit song, ‘Man in the Box’?” Well, thanks for asking, first of all. It’s honestly just not one of my favorite AiC songs, but probably if you keep on reading below you’ll get the other part of your answer.
Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Alice in Chains’ Facelift
I played the “standup” bass or double bass for many years, from the time I was in the sixth grade all the way through sophomore year of college. Standup bass or double bass is the one that’s used for classical music, and occasionally you’ll see them in jazz bands or old time-y type ragtime stuff.
I had one of the rare and real epiphanies of my life when I realized during rehearsal one day for my university symphony at Binghamton University that I absolutely hated playing the thing and wasting my time participating in the orchestra. I decided that day that I would never touch that instrument again, and indeed I haven’t since.
I also played the bass guitar for a number of years. Let me stress that I was never more than mediocre on a good day. I was in a band in high school for a year or two with close friends of mine, and we had the big goal of having our very first gig at the school’s talent show or talent showcase of some sort. We would usually rehearse at our friend Jake’s house because he was the drummer and his dad was super cool about our hanging out and being noisy in his house.
One day, Jake informed me that the band had “broken up.” I wasn’t particularly… broken up about this, though it was a bummer on a personal/friendship level when I later found out the band “break up” was really more, “you and Larry the guitarist are kicked out of the band, to be replaced by a couple of other friends of ours.”
I bring all of this up because I’m… pretty sure “Man in the Box” was one of the tiny number of songs that we would practice over and over (and over). We had zero original songs in our repertoire as I recall. I’m honestly not 100% sure if we played “Man in the Box” or if it was a song that the “new” iteration of the band performed (without Larry and I). High school memories, and bummer memories, can sometimes conspire that way.
I am 100% sure that we played “Silent Lucidity” by Queensrÿche about 120,000 times during my tenure with the band… which I don’t think had a name.*
* Side note I: my sister’s boyfriend was in a band that had perhaps the most epic high school band name of all time: Dizzy Platypus
* Side note II: spoiler alert! You will not see Queensrÿche on this here best 1,000 albums ever list