Facelift: Album that sparked a phenomenon

Facelift: Album that sparked a phenomenon

The year was 1990. It was your birthday at the time. One gift you got was a CD for the discman you also received. The CD was Facelift by Alice in Chains. You never heard of them but your older brother assured you they were good. When you played the CD, the first track blew your mind.

This was probably a similar experience to what some people experienced in 1990. The album Facelift was just released that year, which was Alice in Chain’s first Album. The band Alice in Chains was formed in 1987. The band, at the time, consisted of vocalist Layne Staley, vocalist and guitarist Jerry Cantrell, bassist Mike Starr, and drummer Sean Kinney. The album was a grunge album. Grunge is a type of alternative rock and metal mix. Some grunge bands like Pearl Jam aim more towards the rock side, while bands like Alice in Chains go more toward the metal side. 

The album was not selling well at first. It sold less than 40,000 copies in its first week of release. Eventually, MTV started playing the music video for the song “Man in the Box.” This quickly showed more people this album and it eventually was certified gold. This was the first grunge album to be certified gold. Eventually, it became certified 3x platinum. This means it has sold over 3 million copies.

The album starts off very strong with a classic song, ”We Die Young.” The vocals on the song are amazing. The band has two singers and they harmonize perfectly whenever they sing together. The guitar riff and drumming is also very memorable. It is a song that gets you pumped. This is also a good song that demonstrates some of the darker tones of the album. This song is about gang violence. Some other darker themes of this album include censorship and relationship issues. Another great song is “Man in the Box.” This song is about censorship in the media. The singing back and forth between Staley and Cantrell and the harmonizing makes this song have emotion. Another highlight from this album is the song “Love, Hate, Love.” This song is one of the slower songs on this album, but it’s also the most emotional. This song highlights Staley’s voice so well. He puts so much emotion into his singing that he is able to make you cry. This song is about a man who is struggling with his girlfriend. He is trying to be loyal, but can not when she is not. As the song puts it, “I tried to love you. I thought I could. I tried to own you. I thought I would.” Every song is good on the album and not just the one I have mentioned. 

The album is definitely intended for more mature audiences. They use profanity but not to the level of many modern songs. To me they were there to add feeling to the song on purpose rather than added just because they could.  Despite the harsh language, I think everyone should listen to it, kids included. This genre and time era of music is full of hot garbage and if we allow our kids to listen young, they will hopefully be grown to this music type. It is certainly better than a song that goes, “In a minute I’ma need a sentimental man or woman to pump me up.”