Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Tear Jerker / Alice in Chains

Go To

Most songs by this grunge band have this vibe — which is especially disturbing, when you consider how Layne died...

  • "Down in a Hole" is a kind of depressing only they can pull off; whether the tears come or not will depend on who you are, but hearing the singer accept that his life is over and it's all his fault evokes a certain gloom and sorrow rarely pulled off tastefully.
    • The acoustic version on the single sounds even sadder. See if you can make it through without shedding even a Single Tear.
  • "Would?" might be even more depressing (lyrically) than "Down in a Hole."
    • The normal version is depressing enough, but the acoustic version is almost painful to listen to (and even harder to watch when you can see Layne's rotting teeth, constant shaking, and pained face.) Hearing that song coming from a dying man is one of the most depressing things you'll ever hear.
  • Advertisement:
  • "Nutshell." Good God, just... "Nutshell." To clarify, it was written by Layne Staley — enough said.
  • And "Rooster" as well. Especially the "Send me pictures of my boy" line... The "oohs" at the beginning are enough to tell that it is a depressing song.
    • Although, let's put it this way: Said song isn't the heaviest on the album Dirt - in fact, it could count as one of the acoustic balladsnote  - and the subject is the guitarist's Vietnam vet father, and it's still talking about him getting shot at, and all his friends getting gunned down or dying from malaria.
  • "Whale & Wasp", which has no lyrics — but still manages to be... Depressing as hell.
  • "Don't Follow", especially the part where Layne yells that he's scared to death, can be a real trigger. It's like listening to a best friend cry or something.
  • "Hate to Feel", especially when you compare it to "Real Thing", which was a story about how much the protagonist wants his friends and family to back off about his addiction, even though he knows he needs help. Staley eventually becomes an addict in real life, making "Hate to Feel" basically a sequel, about how the heroin has taken over his life and now he needs it because life is physically too painful without it.
  • Advertisement:
  • "Black Gives Way to Blue", which is about the late Layne Staley.
  • Hell, you could say that the Self-Titled Album is all one big Tear Jerker — being written by Layne Staley. With the exception of three songs, they are about how he's all alone with no one willing to help and him unwilling to accept help with his addiction. It's truly depressing stuff, but it gets worse. He didn't remember writing those songs, because he was high when he wrote them.
    • Especially in the chorus of "Frogs", where Layne repeatedly asks: "Why's it have to be this way?", and the spoken word coda, where he looses such wonderfully hateful lines as "Off the wall I scrape you" and "Never gonna fuck with me again."
  • Any of the songs Layne wrote about his relationship with his former fiancée, Demri Parrott.
    • "God Smack" was the first of these. It's most likely about Demri becoming addicted to heroin and their addictions slowly driving her and Layne apart. Layne laments either Demri's or his own addiction (or more likely both) making them reject help from anyone who cares enough about them, possibly including each other, and heroin becoming more important in both of their lives than anything else. Including each other.
    • "Nutshell" mentions it subtly. It was written around the same time that Layne and Demri broke up. The lines "No one to cry to / No place to call home", which are already extremely tearjerky, just get that little bit more depressing with this in mind.
    • Advertisement:
    • "Shame In You". In this song Layne calls Demri out on leaving him for what he thought were hypocritical reasons. Some fans have speculated it was down to habits stemming from their addictions, and others think it's likely both Layne and Demri had slept around at some time. Anyway, Layne tells Demri that she was wrong to blame him for something that she was equally guilty of, while acknowledging and regretting his own guilt. At the same time, he also seems to want her to heal from whatever it was that he did, depending on how you interpret "My sins I'll claim / Give you back shed pain / Go find a place for our shame."
    • "Sludge Factory" also makes a quick nod to Demri's failing health resulting from her drug addiction. On the Unplugged album, you really can hear pain in Layne's voice at "Now the body of one soul I adore wants to die". Fridge Horror might set in when you remember the Unplugged album was recorded in July 1996, when Demri's health had really nosedived, leaving her on the edge of death. She died about three months after the Unplugged album was recorded.
    • "Died" takes this Up to Eleven. After all of their struggles, the frustration, the blame, Layne still loved Demri, desperately, and her death destroyed him. In the six years between Demri's death and Layne's, he never even began to get over her. It really does seem like it was Demri's death that pushed Layne over the edge, taking away his last reason for wanting to live. What's even sadder is the parallels between Layne's death and Demri's death. Both of them (obviously) died from heroin use. Details around Demri's death are really vague, but the story that seems to fit with the report on her death certificate best says that she overdosed while in the back of her current boyfriend's car, while he nodded off on heroin inside a convenience store. It was apparently hours before anyone noticed something wrong, and by then it was too late. In their own ways, both Layne and Demri were abandoned before they died (Most people had almost forgotten Layne since he was so reclusive in his last years, and Demri was unwittingly left alone as she was dying by her boyfriend).
      • Even worse: Unlike Layne, who died from the long-term effects of heroin use, Demri died from "acute intoxication" according to her death certificate. Meaning that she might not have been at the point where her body would have rejected treatment, and she might have survived if anyone had been paying attention.
  • "Over Now". Although written by Cantrell most likely about a relationship, the fact that a song by that title (with the lyrics "It's over now") is the last song on their last album with Layne Staley gives it a very disturbing double meaning.
  • Also: "I Stay Away", "Angry Chair", and "No Excuses". But especially "Angry Chair", given how exactly Staley died, he was found slumped over and lifeless on his couch in his condo when police found him.
  • The "Final Years" and "Death" sections of Layne Staley's Wikipedia page are easily one of the most tragic stories in rock music.
  • "Died" and "Get Born Again", the two final songs recorded with Staley before he died (and were not featured on any album), especially the former song. Read to the lyrics to it, and you can almost feel his pain. Keep in mind he died less than 4 years after it was recorded. His appearance during the recording was no less heartbreaking; his hair was long and unkempt, his figure was ghoulishly thin, his skin was sallow, his legs were so thin that they appeared to be atrophying, and he was completely edentulous. Despite this, they could clearly see that the smart, funny Layne that they knew and loved was still very much there. Even then, they were still shown reminders of just how close to gone he was; he spilled a bottle of root beer while nodding off on heroin, and after dicking around during the first day of recording, he suddenly announced that he had to go back to Seattle to attend his sister's wedding (which was proven to be bullshit, as the sister in question had been married over two months prior to the recording session; all parties suspected that he really just wanted to go and score some more drugs) only to be chastised by Cantrell; Layne's response was to revert to an almost childlike state that was akin to a little boy who had just been ordered to go to his room.
  • The music video to "Hollow" is nothing short of heartbreaking, especially with how slow and calculated the video shows the astronaut's demise.
  • "Am I Inside" is a good candidate for the most depressing song ever written. The lyrics are about depression, self loathing, and hopelessness and the instrumentals are truly haunting. And keep in mind, the only instruments are an acoustic guitar.
  • "Acid Bubble" from the Duvall era is this made of Nightmare Fuel. The filthy sludge of the music certainly compliments the depressing hopelessness of the lyrics and chorus.
  • "Junkhead" counts as both this and Nightmare Fuel, as it tells the story of a man who was once in rehab going back to his heroin addiction with rather disturbing and gloomy music to go along with it. It may also qualify as Harsher in Hindsight, considering Layne Staley's death.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: