Them Bones (2:29)

Cover of Dirt

From Dirt and 57 other releases

Them Bones is the first song of Alice in Chains’ second studio album ‘Dirt’. The song was released as the second single from their second album, Dirt (1992). 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).

The song was written by guitarist Jerry Cantrell. The song is highly chromatic and is played in a time signature of 7/8—except for the chorus, which is in 4/4. When discussing the use of odd time signatures in a 1998 interview with Guitar World, Cantrell said:

I really don’t know where that comes from; it just comes naturally to me. I could sit down and figure it out, but what’s the use? Off-time stuff is just more exciting — it takes people by surprise when you shift gears like that before they even know what the hell hit ‘em. It’s also effective when you slow something down and then slam ‘em into the dash. A lot of Alice stuff is written that way — “Them Bones” is a great off-time song.

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

I was just thinking about mortality, that one of these days we’ll end up a pile of bones. It’s a thought for every human being, whether you believe in an after-life or that when we die, that’s it. The thought that all the beautiful things and knowledge and experiences you’ve been through just end when you end scares me, the thought that when you close your eyes for good, it’s gone forever.

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