Call me a glutton for punishment. Call me a guy with too much time on his hands. Call me a coroner; I'm ready to surrender. Give up the ghost. Do the dutch.
Because, you see, I really don't like ALANIS MORISSETTE. At all. Yet, recently, I spent the better part of an afternoon listening my way through her discography. All of it. Put a rush on that coroner. Clean-up on aisle three.
In part, this sudden and unexpected immersion in masochism was inspired by the release of Morissette's latest LP, FLAVORS OF ENTANGLEMENT (the woman has a gift for catchy, roll-right-off-the-tongue album titles, does she not?). Mainly, though, I was remembering the head-over-feet phenomenon that was 1995's JAGGED LITTLE PILL. The fellatio-emblazoned "You Oughtta Know." The ironically non-ironical "Ironic." The boatload of Grammys and Junos. The 30+ million units sold. The question was: How would that album hold up 13 years down the line -- with grunge gone to ground and Lilith Fair a distant, misty memory?
Answer: It doesn't hold up very well at all. Yet Morissette has never entirely abandoned the musical blueprint that she and producer GLEN BALLARD (the Jerry Bruckheimer of audio overseers) were working from back then. Musically, we get faux-funky confessionals built upon bland, drum machine-driven rhythms and LED ZEPPLIN-esque storm & stress. Vocally, Alanis cycles from "hysterical howl" to "woeful wail"; from "bitter whine" to "grrrlish growl." And it grrrates. It rrreally, rrreally grrrates.
Always worst of all, though, was (is) the woman's insistence on ripping her lyrics directly from her personal journals, and singing them as-is -- syntax be damned. It gets old right quick, and you sort of want to slap her. Anything to get her off that self-pity/self-empowerment teeter-totter of hers. Anything to put a stop to all that endless, self-obsessed navel-gazing. Alanis, honey, here's a thought: Not every emotion you've ever felt deserves its own song. Sometimes, you just gotta swallow that shit.
ALANIS MORISSETTE on MySPACE.
From the LP FLAVORS OF ENTANGLEMENT, 2008 >>>
[MP3] "Giggle Again for No Reason"
[MP3] "Versions of Violence"
From the LP UNDER RUG SWEPT, 2002 >>>
[MP3] "Hands Clean"
From the LP SUPPOSED FORMER INFATUATION JUNKIE, 1998 >>>
[MP3] "Joining You"
From the LP JAGGED LITTLE PILL, 1995 >>>
[MP3] "Wake Up"
BONUS TRACK >>>