Mandatory Metal: 5 Essential Alice in Chains Songs

Alice in Chains, 1993; photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Heavy music is full of legendary bands boasting deep catalogs stacked with iconic songs — sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, or what to consider their best. With that in mind, we present the “Mandatory Metal” lists, which collect what we consider to be the definitive tracks from various members of the metallurgic pantheon. Up today, Alice in Chains, those swampy, druggy, harmonizing Seattleites who helped make “grunge” a household name along their tragic path. Since a 2005 resurrection, AIC are still going strong, as evidenced by their most recent album, 2018’s chart-topping Rainier Fog, but in our opinion, these classic cuts are their most essential. If you disagree, sound off on The Pit Facebook page.

“Them Bones”
ALBUM: DIRT

A dense chugfest about futility and death that’s as melodic as it is eerie.
Sample lyrics: “I feel so alone/Gonna end up in a big ol’ pile a them bones.”

“Grind”
ALBUM: ALICE IN CHAINS

A song that strikingly contrasts bleakness with harmony-laden slivers of hope.
Sample lyrics: “In the darkest hole you’d be well-advised/Not to plan my funeral before the body dies.”

“Junkhead”
ALBUM: DIRT

This unapologetic ode to addiction speaks volumes about doomed frontman Layne Staley.
Sample lyrics: “What’s my drug of choice?/Well, what have you got?/I don’t go broke/And I do it a lot.”

“Man in the Box”
ALBUM: FACELIFT

The guitar-squealing cut that gave grunge its first radio hit.
Sample lyrics: “I’m the dog who gets beat/Shove my nose in shit.”

“Nutshell”
EP: JAR OF FLIES

Even at their mellowest and most reflective, Alice in Chains still ache with despair.
Sample lyrics: “My gift of self is raped/My privacy raked.”