The crown jewel of the grunge movement
Facelift and Alice in Chains were pretty good and Black Gives Way to Blue and The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here managed to be somewhat competent, but Dirt is in a league of its own. With this album, Alice In Chains achieved near-perfection of their sound. The album is stuffed to the brim with thick and gloomy, yet morbidly catchy rock songs. Make no mistake, this is no vanilla grunge a la Nirvana. Alice In Chains mix in lots of heavy metal and even doom metal influence to give their music a darker edge than most of their grunge contemporaries. The feelings of hopelessness and loneliness that these songs emit will grab you by the throat.
Of course, the songwriting of Jerry Cantrell and the vocals of Layne Staley are what make this album work so well. Cantrell and Staley's crooning vocal harmonies have made their permanent mark on rock history. Staley's wails on "Would" and "Down in a Hole" truly are the cries of a man who has lost hope and feels isolated from the world. Though it was a huge mainstream success, this album has something real and emotionally intense about it that few others do. Almost every song is a classic. A "Best Of" album for Alice In Chains should be about two-thirds of Dirt and a couple songs from their other two 90s albums. That's how great this thing is.
If you call yourself a fan of good rock music and you haven't given this thing a chance, you're doing yourself a real disservice.
Best songs: Sickman, Rooster, Junkhead, Dirt, God Smack, Hate to Feel, Angry Chair, Would?, Down in a Hole