Alice in Chains

I Stay Away

Composed by Jerry Cantrell / Layne Staley / Mike Inez

Song Review by

The seeming schizophrenia between massive rock crunch and gentle acoustic numbers was actually one of Alice in Chains' strongest traits, and on the brilliant "I Stay Away" the two impulses fused to create what on balance was the band's most uplifting song, sonically if not always lyrically. Beginning with a lovely, folky Jerry Cantrell guitar, strings softly gliding in, "I Stay Away" finds the normally doom-laden Layne Staley beginning on a note of hope about 'going south this year.' A recurrent descending riff finds Cantrell bringing out the electric guitar, joining with Staley in the off-center harmonizing that so often defined the group, but for the most part the tone is calm and reflective. It's on the chorus that everything really hits the heights, with Staley invoking the title like a declaration of intent and the arrangement suddenly becoming an anthemic surge, the orchestral backing resulting in a truly beautiful moment. Cantrell's electric solo adds just enough bite.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Jar of Flies/Sap 1994 Columbia 4:14
Jar of Flies 1994 Columbia 4:14
Nothing Safe 1999 Sony Music Distribution
Music Bank 1999 Columbia 4:14
Music Bank: The Videos 1999 Sony Legacy 4:10
Greatest Hits 2001 Columbia
Jar of Flies/Facelift/Dirt 2001 Columbia 4:14
Nothing Safe/Music Bank 2003 Smv 4:14
The Essential Alice in Chains 2004 Sony Music / Sony Music Distribution 4:14
Original Album Classics 2011 Columbia / Sony Music Distribution
Nothing Safe: Best of the Box BMG / Sony Music Distribution
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