the best MTV ever produced. MTV was a great channel once. I wasn’t allowed to watch it, but I did so anyways. It showcased a lot of music, and it helped me branch away from purely rock radio into new dimensions. I remember that in 1996 I wanted to pick up several records, and one of the major ones that I purchased was Alice in Chains “Unplugged”. This was recorded for MTV as they had a series in which they put rock groups in a small venue, put some candles on, and the band would play through their hits and some B-sides as well.
What made this so special was that the band had been absent from the limelight for a while. In fact, they didn’t play a concert for 2 and a half years before this. Layne Staley would die soon after the band recorded this, but the band definitely put on a showcase here. I recall at the time, a lot of music critics didn’t like this record. In fact, my stepfather, friends that listened to rock radio, and even some pundits in the newspaper didn’t like this version of Alice In Chains. They wanted more grunge, and louder production. I loved it. I liked the tunes and feel that the album had a certain quality that is only found with great acoustic sets.
Now, having seen the performance, I know for a fact that the CD isn’t the same. Watching the band work is so much cooler, but if you close your eyes, you can kind of make out the band playing this in front of a live studio audience. There are some great moments on the record, and I feel makes up for what some say is a “lack of energy”. Some of the best songs on this record include, “Nutshell”, “Sludge Factory”, “Rooster”, “Got Me Wrong”, “Heaven Beside You”, and “Over Now”. This is a record that deserves a full listen. I don’t like reviewing records that just have singles on them, which is why I love this one. It has a lot of life in it, even though it’s mostly old material that was already released. That’s the nature of MTV Unplugged anyways.
If you have yet to listen or pick up Alice in Chains “Unplugged”, you’re missing out on something grand. It’s still as good as it was back in 1996 when it was first released. There are some great musical moments on this record, and if you sit back and just listen, you’ll hear an emotional band dealing with a lot.