Would?

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"Would?"
Would? by Alice in Chains limited edition EP commercial overseas.jpg
Artwork for international commercial limited edition EP (CD release pictured)
Single by Alice in Chains
from the album Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Dirt
ReleasedJune 30, 1992
Format
RecordedMarch–May 1992
StudioEldorado Recording, Burbank, California; London Bridge, Seattle, Washington; One on One, Los Angeles, California
Genre
Length3:27
LabelColumbia
Songwriter(s)Jerry Cantrell
Producer(s)
Alice in Chains singles chronology
"Sea of Sorrow"
(1992)
"Would?"
(1992)
"Them Bones"
(1992)
Music video
"Would?” on YouTube
Audio sample

Would? is a song by Alice in Chains, written by guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell as a tribute to his friend Andrew Wood, lead vocalist of Mother Love Bone, who died in 1990. Cantrell sings the verses of the song, while Layne Staley sings the chorus.

The song first appeared on the soundtrack to the 1992 film Singles—where the members of Alice in Chains make a cameo appearance—and later appeared on the band's second studio album Dirt, also released in 1992. "Would?" was released as a single and peaked at No. 31 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in 1992, at No. 19 in 1996, and in 2019 the song peaked at No. 15 on the Hot Rock Songs chart after it was featured in the trailer for the season 2 of the Netflix show The Punisher. The song was included on the compilation albums Nothing Safe: Best of the Box (1999), Music Bank (1999), Greatest Hits (2001), and The Essential Alice in Chains (2006). An acoustic version performed on Alice in Chains' MTV Unplugged in 1996 was released in a live album and DVD. In 2009, "Would?" was named the 88th Best Hard Rock Song of All Time by VH1.[6]

Lyrics[edit]

The song, written by guitarist/co-vocalist Jerry Cantrell, concerns the late lead singer of Mother Love Bone, Andrew Wood, who died of a heroin overdose in 1990. It was produced, engineered, and mixed by Dave Jerden.[7]

In the liner notes of 1999's Music Bank box set collection, Jerry Cantrell said of the song:

I was thinking a lot about Andrew Wood at the time. We always had a great time when we did hang out, much like Chris Cornell and I do. There was never really a serious moment or conversation, it was all fun. Andy was a hilarious guy, full of life and it was really sad to lose him. But I always hate people who judge the decisions others make. So it was also directed towards people who pass judgments.[8]

Reflecting on the song in a 2017 interview, Cantrell said:

A really significant thing for all of us - was kind of a heavier foreshadowing of some things that would directly affect us and our friends - was the death of Andy Wood. That song was me thinking about him like we all did, and trying to put that down and just kind of write a little ode for him. Because he wasn't there, and everything was taking off... It was a nice thing to be able to use that song, it was very poignant I thought, because we kind of carried him with us.[9]

Release and reception[edit]

“Would?” was released as a single in 1992, coinciding with the release of the movie Singles. The song peaked at number 31 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The UK single was released in January 1993[10] and reached the Top 20 in the UK and the Top 40 in the Netherlands. It is one of the band's best-known songs.[11]

Steve Huey of AllMusic said that the song is "a touch more melancholy than many of the group's best-known rockers" and "one of the band's most fully realized individual moments."[12] James Hunter of Rolling Stone called the song "a Seattle song that in 1999 evokes no grunge nostalgia. It's timeless, one of the most stylish singles of the decade, the work of a band which understands that life gets way out of hand but that first-rate rock recordings can't."[13]

The song was named one of the top tracks of the 1990s by Pitchfork Media in 2010.[1]

On January 10, 2019, "Would?" was featured in the trailer for the season 2 of the Marvel/Netflix superhero show The Punisher.[14] Following the release of the trailer, the song peaked at No. 15 on Billboard's Hot Rock Songs chart in the week of January 26, 2019.[15]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Would?" was released in 1992 and was co-directed by Cameron Crowe and Josh Taft. The music video won the award for Best Video from a Film at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards.[16] The video is available on the home video release Music Bank: The Videos.[17]

Live performances[edit]

Alice in Chains performed an acoustic version of "Would?" for its appearance on MTV Unplugged in 1996, and the song was included on the Unplugged live album and home video release. Live performances of the song can also be found on the "Heaven Beside You" single and the live album, Live.

Cover versions[edit]

The song was covered by Opeth on their single "Burden", a song from their 2008 album Watershed.[18]

In popular culture[edit]

In 2011, fictional band Queens of Dogtown covered "Would?" in the fifth episode of the fourth season of television series Californication.[19][20]

The song was one of clues about Alice in Chains (along with "Rooster" and "Man In The Box") in an episode of the game show Jeopardy! aired on March 5, 2019.[21]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleLength
1."Would?"3:27
2."Man in the Box"4:46
3."Brother"4:27
4."Right Turn"3:17

Personnel[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Studio version
Chart (1992-93) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[22] 69
European Hot 100 Singles (Music & Media)[23] 77
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[24] 17
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[25] 33
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[26] 19
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[27] 31
Chart (2019) Peak
position
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)[28] 15
Unplugged version
Chart (1996) Peak
position
Canada Rock/Alternative (RPM)[29] 21
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[27] 19

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s: 200-151". Retrieved 2010-10-18.
  2. ^ Danaher, Michael (August 4, 2014). "The 50 Best Grunge Songs". Paste. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  3. ^ "30 Essential Grunge Songs". Stereogum. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  4. ^ Robinson, Joe. "Top 11 Metal Albums of the 1990s". Loudwire.
  5. ^ "VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs". Stereogum. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  6. ^ "100 Best Hard Rock Songs Ever (According to VH1)". Stereogum. January 5, 2009.
  7. ^ Liner notes, Dirt. 1992.
  8. ^ Liner notes, Music Bank box set. 1999.
  9. ^ "Jerry Cantrell wrote Alice in Chains' "Would?" as a tribute to Andrew Wood from Mother Love Bone". YouTube. July 8, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  10. ^ Strong, M. C. (1998). The Great Rock Discography. Giunti. p. 87. ISBN 88-09-21522-2.
  11. ^ "spreadit.org music". Archived from the original on February 12, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
  12. ^ Huey, Steve. "Would?". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  13. ^ Hunter, James (September 2, 1999). "Nothing Safe: Best of the Box". Album Reviews. Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  14. ^ Chapstick, Kelsey (January 10, 2019). "See Bloody New 'The Punisher' Season 2 Trailer Set To Alice In Chains' "Would?"". Revolver Magazine.
  15. ^ "Hot Rock Songs – The week of January 26, 2019". Billboard. Archived from the original on February 8, 2019. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  16. ^ "1993 MTV Video Music Awards". Rockonthenet. Retrieved August 12, 2007.
  17. ^ "Top Music Video – Music Bank: The Videos". Billboard. Archived from the original on January 14, 2009. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  18. ^ "OPETH Covers ALICE IN CHAINS, ROBIN TROWER During New Album Sessions". Blabbermouth. February 5, 2008. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  19. ^ D. Kennedy, Gerrick (February 22, 2011). "Showtime's 'Californication' goes punk rock with teenage cover band Queens of Dogtown". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  20. ^ "Queens of Dogtown - Would?". YouTube. February 17, 2011. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  21. ^ "Alice In Chains on Jeopardy! - March 5, 2019". Wayback Machine. March 12, 2019.
  22. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  23. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. January 30, 1993. p. 43. Retrieved August 3, 2018. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  24. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  25. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Alice in Chains – Would?" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  26. ^ "Alice in Chains: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  27. ^ a b "Alice in Chains Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  28. ^ "Alice In Chains Chart History (Hot Rock Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
  29. ^ "Top RPM Rock/Alternative Tracks: Issue 9861." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 5 November 2016.

External links[edit]