March 30, 2004
Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Grunge, Alternative Metal, Alternative Pop/Rock, Hard Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock

Album Review

Depending on how you keep count, The Essential Alice in Chains is the third or fourth attempt at an Alice in Chains compilation -- 1999 saw the box set Music Bank and Nothing Safe, a single disc of highlights from the three-disc retrospective, and 2001 brought the release of the slightly too skimpy Greatest Hits. At two discs and 28 tracks, The Essential falls somewhere between the fan-oriented excess of Music Bank and the just-the-basics Greatest Hits, offering all of the group's biggest songs -- not just singles like "Man in the Box," "Angry Chair," "Rooster," "No Excuses," and "Would?" but also album tracks like "Sea of Sorrow," "God Smack," "Hate to Feel," and "Dam That River" -- in a comprehensive overview of their career. While this may be a little bit too long for those listeners who only want AIC's grunge staples -- conversely, there are certainly a handful of songs that diehards might miss -- this is nevertheless the best-executed Alice in Chains compilation yet, functioning well as an effective summary and introduction to their too-brief, complicated career.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. We Die Young
  2. Man in the Box
  3. Sea of Sorrow
  4. Love, Hate, Love
  5. Am I Inside
  6. Brother
  7. Got Me Wrong
  8. Right Turn
  9. Rain When I Die
  10. Them Bones
  11. Angry Chair
  12. Dam That River
  13. Dirt
  14. God Smack
  15. Hate to Feel
  16. Rooster
  17. No Excuses
  18. I Stay Away
  19. What the Hell Have I [Remix]
  20. A Little Bitter [Remix]
  21. Grind
  22. Heaven Beside You
  23. Again
  24. Over Now [Unplugged Version]
  25. Nutshell [Unplugged Version]
  26. Get Born Again
  27. Died
  28. Would?