- 04 Aug 20
Canadian songstress releases heartfelt “piano record”.
A quarter-of-a-century after her breakthrough, Jagged Little Pill, and eight years since her last studio album, Alanis Morissette is back with her self-proclaimed “piano record”. Three years in the making, it features songs so personal, they sometimes sound like a diary set to music.
Opening ballad ‘Smiling’ is far from syrupy, Alanis’ voice sounding fantastic, even as she’s describing “the sound of me hitting bottom”, with a melody strongly recalling Radiohead’s ‘My Iron Lung’. The powerful ‘Diagnosis’ is a heartfelt and heart-breaking glimpse into the pain of her post-natal depression: “I’ve notleft the house in a while / I’venot felt a glimpse of ease / And I have not made much headway / Since I have come back from the war.”
Conversely, ‘Ablaze’ is a wonderful message to her children, and her mission to keep her offspring safe and happy despite the innate unfairness of the world we live in. ‘Missing The Miracle’ is borne aloft on a sweeping string section, each swoop tugging at the emotions, while the multi-tracked choral effects on ‘Reckoning’ achieve the same aim. However, ‘Reasons I Drink’ is surprisingly jaunty, despite the dark subject matter.
Only ‘Nemisis’ raises the tempo above pedestrian; by the halfway point, the songs tend to blend into one giant ball of angst. I understand she’s not the 21-year-old who screamed ‘You Oughta Know’ back in 1995, but a little more spit and a little less polish would have been welcome, along with a little rage to break up the introspection.