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.