Song of the Week – No Excuses, Alice in Chains


In 1994, Alice in Chains released an EP – Jar of Flies — of amazing quality. The album opens with the terrific “Rotten Apple,” with its “Hey ah na na” mantra over a wah wah guitar.

Next is the hypnotic “Nutshell.” It presaged the “unplugged” trend, focusing on acoustic instruments except for the electric guitar solo.

The third song, “I Stay Away,” is just as good. It’s a pretty dark sounding song that takes advantage of a few orchestral flairs (strings and horns) and a spooky vocal by Layne Staley. It was recognized with a Grammy Award for the Best Hard Rock Performance in 1995.

“I Stay Away” is followed by today’s SotW, “No Excuses.”

Lyrically, the song is about the complicated and tempestuous relationship between Staley and guitarist Jerry Cantrell.

It’s alright
There comes a time
Got no patience to search
For peace of mind
Layin’ low
Want to take it slow
No more hiding or
Disguising truths I’ve sold

Everyday it’s something
Hits me all so cold
Find me sittin’ by myself
No excuses, then I know

Then in the last verse, reconciliation…

Yeah, it’s fine
We’ll walk down the line
Leave our rain, a cold
Trade for warm sunshine
You my friend
I will defend
And if we change, well I
Love you anyway

The vocal harmony is complex and arresting.

I’m telling you, you’d be hard pressed to find four songs of better quality at the start of any album. This may support the argument for more Eps rather than albums stuffed with filler.

Enjoy… until next week.

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