I might sound a bit repetitive but sometimes my musical mood is unconsciously related to some kind of event or anniversary. I’m into Alice In Chains a lot lately, also recovering the old albums and EPs, some side projects such as Mad Season and Cantrell’s solo albums.
Yesterday it was the 20th anniversary of the release of Jar of Flies, the wonderful ep which followed their most popular album, Dirt. I remember it perfectly. To be honest my expectations were too high, as i had just discovered them thanks to Dirt, and my mind was still boiling in shock, thus reckon I was looking for an extension of the album, but this was completely different and I felt quite disappointed. I’m stupid sometimes and I used to be even more back in the day, and more ignorant. I wanted something more metal, angry and aggressive, but Jar of Flies is a beautiful album, with deep lyrics and very introspective and depressive. I remember talking to a friend on the phone at my granny’s kitchen (how many hours I used to spend hooked on it!), telling him Alice In Chains had lost the vibe and that they would never recover the power of Dirt. Aaaah, how wrong I was!
When reading about the making of this EP, you realize it was never intended to be released on first place. It was a way to express frustration and depression after being worldwide touring with Dirt for some time and facing a rough comeback home, in the most classic way musicians do: Spending some time at the studio for the sake of making music together. But you know how these things go, and someone at the record label heard the acoustic versions of these songs and convinced the band to go on with the project. Perhaps that’s the reason why I, and many other fans, weren’t ready for a change in style, proving Alice In Chains could experiment with milder sounds and styles.
Nowadays my view of Jar of Flies has changed completely. It features several of my favorite songs of the band, ‘Nutshell’, ‘I Stay Away’ or ‘No Excuses’, and it’s the perfect vehicle to move from sick Dirt to dark Alice In Chains, both frightening, intense and heartbreaking. A smooth and brilliant transition.
On the other hand, it was released 20 years ago, I was 17 and was in my last year at high school. Music had become the most important thing in my life and guess I was finishing being a kid to become an adult, very immature and crazy, but more responsible and focused. I’m 37 now and I still keep features from that time, and music is still the most important thing in my life, I’m older, more responsible and focused, but sometimes a complete mess. Celebrating one of these anniversaries, again, confirms the passing of time again, and thinking I’ll be 38 sounds scary and fucked up at first, but I’m unable to compare myself to my old ones, because my lifestyle is very different, and my mental age reminds too young, and seeing friends and people around me, fortunately 38 doesn’t mean to be old anymore, so I prefer taking it easy.
I only hope I manage to celebrate another 20 years of Jar Of Flies.