Song of the Day: Alice In Chains: “Angry Chair”

Wednesday marked 15 years since the passing of former Alice In Chains frontman Layne Staley, who died from a mixture of heroin and cocaine in 2002. This track off the classic album Dirt, which turns 25 years old this year, was a track written solely by Staley and is still one of the band’s most striking. It’s relentlessly dark, sinister and brooding both in terms of sound and lyrics. I’ve seen some claim the song is about a chair his father sat him in as a child to discipline him as well as claims the song is about Staley’s heroin addiction — it could work either way but it seems to me it makes much more sense as the latter. This lyrical passage in particular feels like Staley telling the tale of addiction:

Lost my mind, yeah
Can’t find it anywhere

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Corporate prison, we stay
I’m a dull boy, work all day
So I’m strung out anyway

Loneliness is not a phase
Field of pain is where I graze
Serenity is far away

Saw my reflection and cried
So little hope that I died, oh
Feed me your lies, open wide
Weight of my heart, not the size, oh

It’s a powerful piece of work — maybe not everyone’s idea of a pleasant, but a great and unique listen. Just like the album Dirt itself.

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