There I was, laid out on a table
Screamin' sweat and bare feet to the floor
In my life, I'd not soften
Things that cut, and burn so often
But I sit, think of somethin'
Scared to face, the dyin' nothin'

See the cycle I've waited for
It ain't like that anymore

Where I go is when I feel I'm able
How I fight is why I'm feelin' sore
In my mind, not forgotten
Feel as though, a tooth were rotten
Behind the smile, a tongue that's slippin'
Buzzards cry, when flesh is rippin'

See the cycle I've waited for
It ain't like that anymore

Here I sit writing on the paper
Trying to think of words you can't ignore
In my eyes, what I'm lacking
Score at face, a ten for slacking
Sign the deal, set in motion
Smaller fish, so huge the ocean

See the cycle I've waited for
It ain't like that anymore


Lyrics submitted by Ice, edited by dhalsim2

It Ain't Like That song meanings
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15 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentNot every Alice in Chains song is about drugs. I've always thought this song was about the band dealing with record company execs trying to sign them, or at least the band trying to pursue a deal with a major label. Given the context of the song's release, Alice had just hit it to the big leagues, releasing their major label debut on Columbia.

    If we think of the song under this context instead of drugs, the first verse "There I was laid out on the table/screaming sweat and bare feet to the floor" is an exaggerated description of how nervous Jerry and the band were in a meeting with their label, and how they were demanded success. This could explain the next lines, where Jerry says he's always been strong "I'd not soften/Things that cut and burn so often", but regardless of how strong he may be, he is scared of commercial failure "Scared to face, the dyin' nothin'"

    In the short documentary in the Music Bank videos, we see that the young Alice in Chains consisted of four starving guys who were eager to pursue success. Hence, the chorus "See the cycle I waited for/ It ain't like that anymore" conveys the notion that they were finally getting to the level of success that they wanted, but now it's a compeletely different world than what they expected.

    The second verse manifests the fear of not being a commercial success and getting consumed by the "buzzards". The last verse emphasizes the apprehension, and the pressure to succeed, as Jerry trys to write good songs and "words you can't ignore"

    Lastly, the lines "sign the deal, set in motion/smaller fish, so huge the ocean" reiterates the theme of that song, as the young Alice in Chains embraces the music industry and must deal with the new unfamiliar landscape.
    alicemudgarden19on August 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's about a cycle of suffering. Whether it be drug addiction, injury or what not. Then, you get better, and try to write about it, but it's not real anymore because you aren't suffering. Layne probably wishes he wrote something during some ordeal and when he tried to after, it just wasn't real enough.

    The first verse is about him actually suffering. Probably in rehab during detox (Screaming & Sweating on the table).

    The second verse is more about what you do when your hurting. He only goes out when he's able. When he goes out, he's struggling so much that it makes him sore. And, he doesn't forget what happened to him before. He probably wants drugs to relieve his pain. Even though he's acting happy, he's crying inside (behind the smile a tongue that's slippin).

    Finally, he decides to write about when he was on drugs. He can't come up with the words he wants to, because it's not in the moment(in my eyes, what I'm lacking). So he slacks off and writes something that's not as real as it should be(score at face, a ten for slacking). But, he's gotta write a song because that's how he makes a living (sign the deal, set in motion). That's what the smaller fish (every other band) would do. But there's so much of that (so huge the ocean). But guess what...it's a cycle he's been in, and he's never gonna be in it againbecause "It Ain't Like That Anymore"

    Consequently, Facelift is when Alice in Chains was no longer a smaller fish and rather than write while he's not suffering...Layne turned to drugs and probably wrote all of Dirt and the rest of his albums while under the influence.
    BenLeeon August 08, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about the down side of being famous and always being under a microscope. Every verse deals with the concept of giving up then deciding to push forward, perhaps out of obligation.
    adl1979on August 07, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think this song has something to do with his fear of death, and some kind of idea that what comes around goes around (e.i. "see the cycle i've waited for", "buzzards cry, when flesh if rippin") i could be wrong, but thats what i got from the song
    laynestaley622on May 03, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIs this maybe about the cycle of drugs and rehab? Getting clean and then regressing? It sounds like part of it takes place on a doctor's exam table (there I was, laid out on a table... bare feet to the floor)??? maybe lying to yourself that its gonna be okay this time (behind the smile, a tongue that's slippin)
    or maybe something of the music industry? (here i sit writing on the paper... sign the deal)
    probably a stupid interp... any thoughts?
    Angry Saron July 02, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti see it more as this ( bear in mind its my opinion):

    we all see ourselves in different ways...ways in which we would like people to see us but they don't always see us as that. you meet people, they all sort of see you as a joke and no matter how hard you try to do things to prove otherwise that you are something stronger and more meaningful...you just can't. story of my life perhaps..but its what i get out of the song.
    gofigure000on April 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBenLee, this song was actually written by Jerry, Mike and Sean. At least the song notes say that, or perhaps you know something we all don't? I think you are close but in my head the song is simpler than that. It's almost a mix between your interpretation and gofigure000's thoughts.

    It basically says I went through this stage in my life but that was only me in the past. Now I am a different person who has changed and grown with experience. I am not that person you think I used to be anymore.
    davewah3on April 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwow, didn't know that. You may be right. Either way, I think my interpretation is fairly accurate, regardless of who's writing it. The first verse is definitely in the past and the last first is in the present. So there is kinda of a progression of some sort because "it ain't like that anymore.
    BenLeeon April 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song will always remind me of the movie "Singles" where Alice In Chains are the live bar band and they play this song.
    underdose86on October 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think you got the lyrics wrong here man.

    "In my sight, not forgotten", should be, "Goodbye mind, not forgotten." At least... I think that's right.
    Amplified Axeson February 01, 2008   Link

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