June 24, 2008

New Music

Full confession: I own all of Alanis Morissette's albums. Well, not the pop-music ones from her days in Canada, but everything since Jagged Little Pill (which coincidentally came out the same year of a very bad breakup). I was angry, she was angry - it was beautiful.

Since then, I've bought each CD as it was released, immediately bonding with her at each new stage of her life. When she released Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie(1998), I too was moving on with my life and examining parts of my past. To this day, every time I hear 'Unsent', I think of the same five boys I thought of the first time I heard it; and many of the lyrics of 'Sympathetic Character' brought up memories I had been avoiding.

The next new album wasn't released until 2002 (Under Rug Swept). The album covered a wide range of topics - love with an emotionally unavailable man, as struggling relationship...and hope. At the time, the songs 'Narcissus' and 'So Unsexy' were especially poignant for me. I tended to shout '21 Things..' every time I listened to it, as if the perfect man would just materialize!

So Called Chaos was next in 2004. She was finally happy, and so was I! Yet, I didn't like this album. I was much happier with the re-release of Jagged Little Pill as an acoustic album in 2005. It was difficult to believe 10 years had gone by since all that anger, and it was good to look back on the songs in a new, softer light. I felt wiser from the struggles of those years.

I didn't even hear about her latest album, Flavors of Entanglement, until just a couple days before it was released. Of course, I immediately ordered it on Amazon (didn't even think that it would be in the stores here, but I think it is!), and sent a copy to my good friend Kim, who has critiqued each album with me since we met in 2001.

I love it.

And sad to say, I think it's because she just went through another bad break-up. (She was engaged to a douchebag actor, but never made it to the altar.)

She's not angry this time...she's heart-wrenchingly sad. In the second track, 'Underneath', she says "Look at us being cruel kids with both our hearts blocked.."; in 'Not as We', she laments starting over again "as I/And not as we"; and in 'Orchid', she sums up her relationships with 'I've just not been trusted with altars".

What would a break-up be without self doubt? Such as in the song 'Tapes': '"I am someone easy to leave"/"Even easier to forget"/a voice, if inaccurate', even going so far as to eschewing relationships in 'Moratorium'.

There is a tiny bit of hope in the CD, though, in the songs 'Giggling Again for No Reason', and 'In Praise of the Vulnerable Man'. And there's many references to the strong female friendships she has; in 'Limbo No More', she sings "I sit with filled frames/And my books and my dogs at my feet/My friends by my side/My past in a heap". The last song on the bonus album is titled 'On the Tequila', and is quite humorous! Apparently, she has quite the tolerance built up...

The first track, 'Citizen of the Planet' is quite political and seems a bit out of place, but since all the songs I like are folded into my "Favs" playlist on my ipod, it doesn't really matter to me.

The sound of the album is more dance-ish, and reminds me a bit of Madonna's Ray of Light, which is a good thing.  I like the new sound, even if it means she is sad again.  Luckily this time,  my life does not mirror hers.


Raywat Deonandan said...

Your obsession with Canada and Canadians must cease NOW!

Did I ever tell you about the week in which I physically collided with Alanis TWICE in two different Canadian cities?

It's true: all us Canadians know each other. There's only 12 of us in total, you know.

Erin said...

The song "Unsent" has the same affect on me too!