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Alice In Chains: Sludge Factory Meaning


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You insult me in my home, you’re forgiven this time
Things go well, your eyes dilate, you shake, and I’m high?
Look in my eyes deep and watch the clouds change with time
20 hours won’t print my picture milk carton size
Carton size, carton...


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    Jun 29th, 2005 6:42pm report

    I recently renewed my interest in this album, and particularly this song. I spent a while trying to figure out the lyrics, particularly the spoken part, and this is what I came up with:

    There has been some discussion about whether this song is about heroin use or the record industry. I believe Layne ties the people associated with each one together.

    The first verse is somewhat self-explanatory. Someone comes to Layne’s home under the false pretense of checking on his sobriety, but the person really wants drugs for themselves. (he asks sarcastically, "and I’M high?"). The two use together, knowing that no one will miss them until at least the following day.

    The second verse is about a record exec calling to congratulate Layne for something – could be album sales, could be AIC's grammy nomination - I think it is probably getting clean. This is also a false pretense, as the exec really wants new material ("there's no pressure besides brilliance"). He asks Layne when he can expect something –("Let’s say by day 9"). Layne finds it stupid to let him control the date, as he is obviously prone to going missing for periods of time and for using drugs, since the exec mentioned that very issue in their conversation. “By the way” probably indicates that the drug use in the first verse indicates a relapse that the exec doesn’t know about.

    Both verses together demonstrate that in Layne’s personal and professional lives, he constantly has people coming to him under false pretenses, to get something they want from him. The chorus demonstrates that he can see through their ploys:

    They think they see "an in" – a pretense that they think they can slip by him – but their true selves (and wants) quickly become apparent to him. Once he finds them out, they become afraid of losing him and they give something to appease him – a date for their own sobriety, a later deadline, etc.

    The last verse talks about the fact that one of the only people he has a true relationship with wants to die, which would leave him to those mentioned in the other verses. He wants the person to stay around and support him against these others that give him headaches.

    Chorus repeats.

    The spoken aspect of the song is more difficult. I'm an attorney by trade, and the legalistic language reads like a last will, or possibly someone swearing out a police report against someone who has wronged them.

    I bear true and existing witness – he is swearing an oath to what he says. This is possibly also a reference to Commandment "Thou shalt not bear false witness," given the likely target of this section.

    To this barrel of monkeys – fame and its influence over people

    Layne is the self-proclaimed immoral success
    1) who has been perfected in his immorality by various drugs
    Which are individually deadly and equally so, and
    2) whose influence has been spread across people who have fought against drug addiction and succumbed to it.

    For physical separation or not knowing one another will not prevent other addicts from understanding the messages, or the lack thereof, in his lyrics.

    The second half of the spoken part contrasts his proclaiming his own immorality, with those who falsely proclaim their own self-righteousness and look down on him because of it. Layne seeks to demonstrate that they hurt people in similar ways.

    Vultures, liars, thieves – the falsely self-righteous who look down on him for his sins, but disregard their own -
    Proclaim their innocence without ambiguity or artistic license (bearing false witness to their own problems).

    Nonetheless, they are similar to pushers, in that they keep people’s spirits broken, in order to maintain control over them.

    The result is the same as the drug pushers and their products – breaking the spirit to overcome the resistance that the body and mind are willing and able to put forth.

    Their weapon is guilt.

    At the same time, he may be saying that these people have no compassion for people like him or his suicidal friend, so in a way, he may be a better person than they, despite his addictions.


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