Listen to an album that will leave you feeling like anything but ‘Dirt’

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“Dirt” by Alice in Chains was released on September 29, 1992.

“Dirt” by Alice in Chains is hard rock album with a runtime of 58 minutes. The album was recorded in the summer of 1992 by lead vocalist Layne Staley, guitarist Jerry Cantrell, bassist Mike Starr and drummer Sean Kinney.

This album is easily one of my all-time favorites because it opened me up to heavier and harder music. When I first listened to this album, I did not know what to think of it because I had not listened to a lot of music like it and was not sure if I liked that kind of music. After listening to it once or twice and really letting myself process what I had just heard, I could confidently say that I had found one of my favorite bands.

The album opens with Staley’s tortured screams on “Them Bones,” and it was the main reason that I was not really into this album at first. I had never heard a song that sounded anything like this one. I feel like I may have been sort of afraid of what this song, and honestly the whole album, had to offer, but after giving it a few more listens, I will say that I genuinely enjoy this song.

“Dirt” tells a story of a drug addict, and every song adds more and more layers to the story and tells how addiction truly is a disease. I feel like it takes listeners through an experience of all the highs and lows that come with addiction, and it does so very well because those who wrote it were addicts themselves.

Many people will interpret “Dirt” as a pro-drug album, but I think that is a very shallow way of looking at it. For instance, “Down in a Hole” is anything but glorifying drug use. Also, in “Junkhead,” which can very easily be seen as pro-drug use, I feel like this song definitely much deeper than just that. Listening to the song, it almost feels empty in a way; the lyrics are glorifying drug use, but in the instrumental, there is not much going on like there is in any of the other songs on this album. The song feels hollow — much like how addiction makes people feel, like they are nothing without a certain substance. For these reasons, “Junkhead” is one my favorite songs on “Dirt.”

This is a beautifully crafted album that I think a lot of people do not appreciate for what it is. Even when it was first released, it was taken as just an album for junkies written by junkies. I think that could not be farther from the truth. It is an album about real human experiences, unlike many albums that just talk about their luxurious lifestyles and how much money they have — things that the average person cannot resonate with. For these reasons I would say that this is one of the best albums of all time.

23ksteinle@usd489.com