I have to admit something: I was never a big fan of grunge growing up. I was eight when NEVERMIND was released, and growing up in LA, you couldn’t turn on KROQ without hearing Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots or Alice In Chains blasting out. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to like and appreciate a number of songs by these bands, though with Alice In Chains, the only songs of theirs that I knew and liked were from the post-Layne Stanley line-up.
I’m happy to say that finally changed this year. Listening to Chuck Klosterman’s nineties Spotify playlist (in honor of his new book about said decade), I heard Alice in Chain‘s “Nutshell” officially for the first time (I had previously heard a Ryan Adams cover of it) and I thought it was beautiful. The sparse acoustic chords and Stanley’s mournful vocals touched a nerve I didn’t expect. Lyrically, the track is powerfully introspective; “We chase misprinted lies, We face the path of time, And yet I fight, and yet I fight This battle all alone”. Words for anyone fighting their own personal battles.
But I think it’s simply the sound of the song; the emotion and music that really hit me this year. It sounds so much more raw and real than so much of the music out there right now, it’s refreshing in its grunginess.
So throwback to 1994 with me and revisit this classic track here.