Back in 1995, Alanis Morissette came crashing onto the music scene with her debut album “Jagged Little Pill.” She crushed every female music record under the sun and made roughly a jillion dollars in the process (and that was back in a time when the US dollar was actually worth more than the Canadian one). An angry and angsty and emotional woman, she paved the way for such artists as Gwen Stefani, Pink, and Chad Kroeger.
Much of her female musician superpowers come from her personal life; it is rumored that her conversion from teen-pop idol to angry chick is entirely based upon Dave Coulier ruining her life (for further evidence on this phenomenon, google “Olsen twins”). A spiritual journey to India spawned “Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie,” along with a likely case of dysentery. Her engagement to fellow Canadialander Ryan Reynolds presaged the relative happiness found in “So-Called Chaos.”
Of course, last year she and Van Wilder called it quits, so it’s time for a return to the angry roots, right? It’s time for a “screw you and the way you broke my heart, you son of a bitch,” isn’t it? Mentions of blow-jobs in movie theaters and such?
Remember when Madonna came out with her techno-laden “Ray of Light” and everybody was scratching their heads? No. Okay, let’s take another step back. Remember when Madonna was relevant for something other than possibly boning Alex Rodriguez? She dropped an album that was musically unlike her previous efforts. Not long after that, the “Where Are They Now?” people started looking for her mailing address.
Welcome to Flavors Of Entanglement
Don’t get me wrong. Lyrically, this is still Alanis. You still have a “kiss my ass” anthem in “Straightjacket.” You still have the “I admire you from a distance” credo in “In Praise of the Vulnerable Man.” You have the “I’m at rock bottom but I’ll make it someday” types in “Incomplete” and “Not As We.” But apparently, somebody thought it would be a good idea to layer some techno crap on top of her singing and call it an album. At one point, I actually looked to make sure I hadn’t downloaded the soundtrack for Underworld 3 by mistake.
Truthfully, I should have seen this coming. When she re-released “Jagged Little Pill” as an acoustic album—that was initially only available through giant corporate whore Starbucks—it signaled a change in direction. You can only remain angry and raw for so long, before you toss yourself off a cliff, eat yourself into a coma, or OD on the nose candy of your choice.
Or maybe cancelling an engagement to Ryan Reynolds has less of an emotional impact than losing your virginity to Uncle Joey from Full House.
Song you should pay $1 for on iTunes, rather than downloading for free: Tapes. Classic Alanis self-doubt (isn’t that almost redundant), catchy lyrically, and it’s light on the crappy techno sounds.
Rating: 2 licorice knots. Black licorice. Ick.