Canadian firebrand loses her spark
Still considered a big deal by the label (so much so that the pre-release copy boasts a pseudonym and decoy title), Alanis nevertheless seems destined to be forever measured by the piss and vinegar of her debut. Flavors Of Entanglement won’t change anyone’s mind. The opening raga-rock extravaganza ‘Citizens Of The Planet’ finds her pursuing the same systems of melody through the same mangled phrasing. She’s still capable of writing a cracker of a pop tune (‘Underneath’), and time has not blunted her nu-feminist ire, evident in the expletive-splattered lyrics of songs like ‘Straightjacket’, but precious little of that anger is manifest in the music.
Curiously, Alanis seems ossified in 1995. Tracks like ‘Moratorium’ and ‘Giggling Again For No Reason’ utilise the cyborg meld of rock and electronica pioneered by Garbage and perfected by Madonna circa Ray Of Light, while ‘Versions Of Violence’ mixes liturgical airs and church bells with Bjork ‘Army Of Me’ big beats. This hodge-podge of designer production tricks, courtesy of Guy Sigsworth, and FM rock-lite, sometimes leaves the listener wondering if half the record wasn’t submitted for Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet over a decade ago. Piano ballads like ‘Not As We’ and ‘Torch’ are, by virtue of their simplicity, the most affecting things here.
Still, we are forever in her debt for ‘My Humps’.
Key track: ‘Torch’
In a last-ditch attempt to regain some of her initial commercial success, Alanis has re-recorded her 30-million selling Jagged Little Pill as an acoustic album. ‘Hand In My Pocket’ is the first fruits of such an uncalled for exercise, and it sounds like the sort of terrible cover version you’d hear on something like You’re A Star.Read More
What would the old bishop of Down have made of the avowed feminist who made her name singing about blow-jobs in public places? The answer is open to debate, but as Colin Carberry discovers, maybe the bishop and Alanis Morissette have more in common than you might think.Read More
Is there any other artist in the history of pop music who has used the words “I”, “Me”, “My”, “Mine” with such regularity? No wonder one UK critic was recently moved to describe Alanis Morissette as “the Queen of self-absorption”.Read More
Under Rug Swept starts promisingly with the toothy guitar hook of '21 Things', but it isn't long before the groove fractures under a shopping list of Alanis' requirements in a lover, a bunch of cumbersome lines that probably scan better than they sound.Read More
The show is admirably complete, both visually and musicallyRead More
While her recent visit to the Point Theatre met with mixed reviews, the show containing perhaps a little too much material from her last album, the critically panned (and rightly so . . .), Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, this unplugged offering is, well, alright.Read More