A Retrospective on Alanis Morissette, As She Releases “Reasons I Drink”

Canada’s own Alanis Morissette is my favourite female singer of all time, and I’ve spent pretty much all of my life listening to her music. Over the course of her now 32-year career, Alanis Morissette has released eight studio albums in addition to her various promotional singles, live albums and compilation albums.

Following the reason of her newest single, Reasons I Drink, from her upcoming album Such Pretty Forks in the Road which is due to come out May 1, 2020, I figured today would be the perfect time to reflect on her entire career.

(Interested in what I have to say about the newest single? Scroll to the bottom or click this handy shortcut link.)

 

Alanis Morissette’s first musical release was the promotional single Fate Stay With Me all the way back in 1987. She was only ten when she recorded the song, but it was enough to garner the interest of a major label in Canada.

 

Released on MCA Records Canada, Alanis was her debut album that was released exclusively in Canada. Recorded from September to December of 1990, the album was officially released on April 6, 1991.

Feel Your Love is the album’s opening track, and it’s a solid opener, even if it’s a bit generic. It’s followed up with Too Hot, which continues to show just how prevalent the 80s teen pop still was in the early 90s in Canada. I guess Robin Sparkles was right. Plastic is the third track from the album, and it’s a bit more synth-pop than the first two tracks, so it’s my favourite from the album so far. Walk Away is the next track on the album, and the most notable thing about it is that it features a pre-Friends Matt LeBlanc in the music video. After four uptempo songs, On My Own shows up as track #5 to slow things down, as it’s this album’s first and only ballad. Amongst the overproduction that was present on the two albums, it’s this track that really shows the potential of her voice had she not been forced to do bubblegum-pop music.

We’re immediately back into pop with Superman, which isn’t about the DC superhero. It actually kind of sounds like it was inspired by Rhythm Nation to me at parts, but it might just be because I’m very tired. Jealous is up next, which leans into more the R&B-inspired vibe that she was going with in the previous track. Human Touch stands out from the previous tracks, but it sounds like it came straight out of a Degrassi High soundtrack. Oh Yeah! was this album’s attempt at an urban sound, and overall, I do think it’s one of the album’s highlights. Party Boy closes out the album, serving its purpose of ending the debut on a uptempo note.

 

Fourteen months later saw the release of Alanis Morissette’s second and final album on the MCA Canada label, Now is the Time. The album’s opening track, Real World shows that we’re in for a direct continuation from the previous album, though perhaps a bit of a slightly later sounding pop aesthetic. An Emotion Away changes up the sound a little bit, leaning more in the synthesizer compared to the first album’s track. The music video is also peak 1991 from what I’ve been told if you want to check it out. Rain is the album’s third track, and it’s a slower, more jazzy song than what she’s done so far. The Time of Your Life, much like Rain, continues to move this album into a jazzy/coffee lounge vibe, thought the song’s electric guitar riffs perhaps show us all that her moving to a more alternative rock sound for Jagged Little Pill wasn’t all that unexpected.

The album’s second single was No Apologies, which also serves as the fifth track. A ballad like the previous two tracks (though perhaps they’re more mid-tempo), this song ditches the jazz stylings to let Alanis’s voice shine. The sixth track on the album is Can’t Deny, which brings up right back into the synth-pop stylings of her early works. When We Meet Again slows things down once more for a mid-tempo song as we start onto the final part of the album. However it’s short lived, as Give What You Got is up next and quickly brings us back to uptempo once more. The beginning of this actually reminds me of some of the stuff she did wit Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, but we’ll get to that later. Alanis’s penultimate song for MCA Canada was (Change Is) Never a Waste of Time, which is actually my favourite song off this album. It’s easily the most mature of the work she put out, and I get a bit of a Cyndi Lauper vibe from it. Big Bad Love closes us off and much like with Alanis, this album goes out with a more dancey song.

Following Now is the Time’s release, Alanis Morissette and MCA Records parted ways when her contract came to close. While still in Canada, she began therapy for anorexia nervosa and bulimia as a result of the pressure MCA placed on her to fit into their “pop girl” mold. Her subsequent anger over the start of her career led to her moving to LA in search of a new label. After teaming up with Glen Ballard, music history was made…

 

After months of writing and a month of recording, Jagged Little Pill was finally released to the public in June 1995. The album kicks off with an absolute banger in All I Really Want. The album shows us right away that Alanis didn’t come to play with her feelings, with one of the song’s verses (And all I need now is intellectual intercourse/A soul to dig the hole much deeper/And I have no concept of time other than it is flying/If only I could kill the killer) being inspired directly by her time at MCA Canada. However, it was the album’s second song that brought Jagged Little Pill into the mainstream and cemented it as one of the 90s most iconic albums.

Released as the first single in July, You Oughta Know received buzz for its scathing, in-your-face lyrics. Fun fact: Dave Navarro plays guitar and Flea plays bass for this song. After two heavier songs, it’s time for a ballad, and Perfect is the perfect (ba dum tss) song to do so. The soft-spoken love ballad is perhaps a bit jarring coming right after break-up song You Oughta Know, but I think it fits perfectly here.

Hand in My Pocket is up next, which is a fun mid-tempo song to close out the first third of the album. The song is also notable for its rhyme juxtaposition form of poetry. Right Through You is the album’s fifth track, and it serves its purpose of mixing the album’s mid-tempo songwriting with a heavier feel. My personal favourite track off the album, Forgiven, is its sixth track. The song centres around the hypocrisies in the Catholic religion that Alanis noticed growing up; as someone that was raised in a religious home, I really related to the lyrics of the song. You Learn is the seventh track on the album. The album’s title comes from a lyric in this song, and critical reviews of the album pointed it out as a standout track as well. The love ballad Head Over Feet follows, which notably features Alanis playing a harmonica solo in the song. Queen. This track is another of my favourites from JLP as well. I also really liked Mary Jane, which I think gets forgotten about since it was sandwiched between two of the more successful songs from this album.

Other than You Oughta Know, the biggest song from Jagged Little Pill is Ironic. Aside from the iconic music video, the song is perhaps most notably as a song centred around ironies that features no actual ironies… which, in turn, is ironic. What a crafty Canadian legend. We follow that up with Not the Doctor. It’s similar to Right Through You in that it starts off mid-tempo and brings in a heavier backing track when we get to the chorus. I find this one of the most underrated songs from the album, because I really love it but nobody ever mentions it. As it’s followed by two hidden tracks, Wake Up is considered the album closer proper. It’s followed by the Jimmy the Saint Blend of You Oughta Know, which was the version of You Oughta Know that was originally planned on being the album’s version. It’s a slightly more rough edit, featuring less production and the guitar riffs are heavier. Your House, an entirely a cappella track, is featured as the official final track, and I think it lets her voice shine tremendously.

MY PERSONAL TRACK RANKING:

  1. Forgiven
  2. Ironic
  3. Head Over Feet
  4. You Oughta Know
  5. Right Through You
  6. Your House
  7. All I Really Want
  8. Hand in My Pocket
  9. Wake Up
  10. Mary Jane
  11. You Learn
  12. Not the Doctor
  13. Perfect

 

As promo and buzz for the album grew, various live performances and acoustic renditions of the singles were released for press and television promo. In Australia, they were compiled into The Singles Box. It mostly features the single versions of the songs alongside some live recordings, but it’s the Grammy Awards rendition of You Oughta Know that’s a highlight off this set.

 

After breaking ground and ushering in strong-willed female singer/songwriters to the mainstream, focus soon began on how Alanis would follow up Jagged Little Pill. Her sophomore effort Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie was eventually released three years later in November 2008. With eighteen tracks and a runtime of nearly 72 minutes (excluding bonus tracks), it’s by far Alanis’s longest studio album as well. (Fun fact: as most consumer blank CDs can only record up to 70 minutes of audio data, the album was released with that runtime as a way to deter people from bootlegging it when audio pirating was first becoming a thing.) With all of the tracks written exclusively by Alanis Morissette, it’s also my favourite of her studio albums, so let’s get to it.

The album’s opener is Front Row, which is probably the most Jagged Little Pill sounding song on the record. In that sense, I can see why they put it first; however, I’d personally put the album’s second track Baba as its opener. Written alongside Thank U while Alanis was on a spiritual journey in India, I personally find it much more solid of a track than Front Row. It was also used as the opener for much of her Junkie Tour, though it has seldom been played since. Thank U, the album’s third track, was the kick-off single from this album and remains the most successful from it. The music video also ignited controversy upon its release owing to the fact that Alanis spends the entire video in the nude, with her hair placed strategically placed alongside blurring. Are You Still Mad is my personal favourite track from this album (but not my favourite of her songs overall). I don’t know why that it is, but I think it being a solemn piano ballad amongst the rest of the album really made it appeal to me all those years ago when the album was first released.

Sympathetic Character is up next, which I also find a highlight of the album. Even with a piano ballad in the mix, the album’s been a bit of a heavy hitter lyrically so far, so it makes sense for That I Would Be Good to appear next to give us all a breather. Another ballad of yearning, it’s a solid track but probably one we could’ve just made a B-side if they wanted to shorten the album. The Couch is a bit of an interesting song on this album, as I always thought it sounded really different from the tracks we’d heard so far. The song, featuring word-heavy lyrics against eclectic instrumentation, is probably the best example of what this album’s overall sound was. Can’t Not is the next track, and it’s another track that I find a bit overlooked when it comes to her discography. It’s a bit similar to The Couch, though the lyrics are sang in more uptempo manner.

UR is another slower song on the album, and it’s followed immediately by another uptempo song in I Was Hoping. After a slow build, the chorus hits on the guitar riffs that I really liked hearing in her 90s albums, and it’s another highlight of the album for me. The eleventh track on the album is One, another word-heavy mid-tempo song of yearning. It is followed by Would Not Come, another of the album’s highlights for me. Fun fact: I once came across a Chinese bootleg of the album that ended after Would Not Come, which I thought was amusing since the album’s other singles all came from the remaining third of the album.

Unsent is the album’s thirteenth song, and it’s notable for its lack of chorus or hook in the lyrics. Similar to the song, the music video is unlike a typical music video in that it features subtitles to tell a story. Matching the song, the music video, which was directed by Alanis Morissette, shows her in different unsuccessful relationships. An extended 10-minute version without the song as just the movie was made available as well. So Pure follows, which is perhaps the song from here most similar to her prior dance-pop career. The title of the album also comes from a lyric in this song. Joining You, one of the album’s more rock-leaning songs, is up next. Though moderately successful as a single, a music video never wound up being finished owing to the busy schedule at the time of its release.

Heart of the House was written as a dedication to Alanis’s mother. It’s followed by Your Congratulations, another piano ballad to close out the album. Perhaps surprising to some, Uninvited, from the City of Angels soundtrack, was not included on the album despite its success as a single. However, Japanese and Australian pressings of the album contained its demo as a bonus track.

MY PERSONAL TRACK RANKING:

  1. Are You Still Mad
  2. Would Not Come
  3. Baba
  4. I Was Hoping
  5. Thank U
  6. Joining You
  7. So Pure
  8. Can’t Not
  9. Sympathetic Character
  10. Unsent
  11. The Couch
  12. Your Congratulations
  13. Front Row
  14. UR
  15. One
  16. That I Would Be Good
  17. Heart of the House

 

A year later saw the release of her MTV Unplugged album. The finalized CD contained the recordings of twelve songs she performed. New songs to this release were No Pressure Over Cappuccino, Princes Familiar (which she cites as her most challenging song to sing live), These R the Thoughts and a cover of King of Pain. King of Pain was released as the single, and its physical release featured the unplugged versions of Thank U, Baba and Your House as well. In addition to the new tracks I listed above, I also really enjoyed the unplugged rendition of You Oughta Know, which was perhaps inspired by her performance of it at the Grammys.

 

After three and a half years since Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, Under Rug Swept was the next studio album released by Alanis Morissette. The album was written and produced solely by Alanis herself, and was a slightly more upbeat album lyrically than her predecessors. As such, it was also perhaps her most polarizing of the “Maverick Years,” as I call them.

21 Things I Want in a Lover is the album’s opening track, which is – perhaps surprisingly – more akin to her Jagged Little Pill work compared to Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. The song features guitarist Dean DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots and lyrically addresses the twenty-one qualities that Morissette would like the most to find in a lover. Narcissus is the album’s second track, continuing on from the sounds of the album’s opening but moving towards a more pop sound. The album’s first single Hands Clean is the third track. An acoustically-driven rock song, the song caused controversy upon its release owing to its depiction of a forbidden sexual relationship Alanis Morissette shared with a much older man when she was approximately 14 years of age. Nonetheless, that didn’t stop the track from being seen as a highlight on the album by reviewers.

The album’s fourth track is Flinch, which is inspired by an old flame she previously dated when she was younger. So Unsexy follows that up, which is a self-reflective song about struggling with body image issues. Precious Illusions is the album’s second single, and it largely deals with the ideals behind idealism and realism. This message was conveyed in the album’s music video. Another ballad, That Particular Time, follows. As I typically like her piano ballads, I really liked the way her voice shined on this, but it’s sadly one of my least favourite tracks off this album.

The eighth track from the album is A Man. The song is introducing, in that on the base level it appears as if it’s a song talking about society’s exceptions of men, but I’ve also taken it as a song she wrote regarding reincarnation, which is something she believes in. You Owe Me Nothing in Return and Surrenduring then follow. Surrendering was actually the final song written for this album, and most people described it as one of her happiest songs from the album and overall. The album’s final track is Utopia, which she first previewed shortly after the September 11 attacks. The album was written during her trips across the country and describes the sense of community she felt among various Native American reservations, particularly in the Navajo region.

The album also has two Japanese bonus tracks, but both of those were included on her next release, so I’ll talk about them then.

MY PERSONAL TRACK RANKING:

  1. So Unsexy
  2. 21 Things I Want in a Lover
  3. Flinch
  4. Hands Clean
  5. Utopia
  6. Precious Illusions
  7. A Man
  8. Surrendering
  9. Narcissus
  10. That Particular Time
  11. You Owe Me Nothing in Return

 

The end of 2002 saw another release by the name of Feast on Scraps. It was a combined CD/DVD release, with the DVD being the recording of her concert in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The CD consisted of nine tracks, all of which were from the Under Rug Swept sessions. Truth be told, I find the eight/nine tracks on this release better than most of Under Rug Swept, so if it was up to me, I would’ve swapped a good chunk of the songs out. Nonetheless, I can see why she went with the direction she did with Under Rug Swept, as the Feast on Scraps tracks are much more experimental and sound closer to Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie than the finalized version of Under Rug Swept does.

Fear of Bliss is the first such track, and it’s perhaps a bit more experimental than the songs that made the final cut. Musically, I’d associate it more with Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, so I can see why it was left off. Bent 4 U follows, and while it’s still in the same vein of the first track, it is a bit of a slower song. She follows that up with Sorry 2 Myself, which was the first song that was included on the Japanese release of Under Rug Swept. The second song from said release was Sister Blister, my personal favourite from this compilation.

After some experimental and/or uptempo songs, the resident piano ballad Offer follows. This is the omission I’m surprised was left off of Under Rug Swept, as I thought it made sense in that track listing given the vibe that album was going with. Unprodigal Daughter is the release’s next track, which is another song that I really enjoy. Simple Together is the album’s next song, which is another slower ballad compared to the rest of the songs on here. Another experimental sounding song on this is the next track, Purgatorying.

The “bonus track,” so to speak, from this release was an acoustic rendition of Hands Clean. I actually really enjoy the acoustic version of Hands Clean, and more than the version on Under Rug Swept. Despite all that, there were still two tracks from the Under Rug Swept sessions that were left off this release – Awakening Americans and Symptoms. I’m a fan of both songs, so it would’ve been nice for them to both be included for completist sakes.

MY PERSONAL TRACK RANKING:

  1. Sister Blister
  2. Sorry 2 Myself
  3. Simple Together
  4. Fear of Bliss
  5. Purgatorying
  6. Unprodigal Daughter
  7. Bent 4 U
  8. Offer

 

After recording the album in 2003, So-Called Chaos was released in May of 2004. The album was written during her then-relationship and subsequent engagement to Ryan Reynolds (yes, really), so the songs were seen as much more cheerful and upbeat than her previous works.

Eight Easy Steps is this album’s opening track. The music video was a rather notable one, as it featured reverse chronological clips of her previous music videos and home videos. However, new footage was filmed of her lip syncing to this song and edited over the existing footage, which is kind of weird when you’re watching it. But it also acknowledges her pre-JLP albums, which is one of the few times that happened. Out is Through, an acoustic-driven song, follows up the album’s only instance of Angry!Alanis. While I like this song, it’s a bit weird sandwiched between the album’s opening track and Excuses, the album’s third track.

The fourth track on the album is Doth I Protest Too Much, which I would say is one of the album’s more obvious love songs if not for the upcoming ending track. The love theme is continued with the next track Knees of My Bees, which is a catchy-enough song, but probably my least favourite from this album. It’s followed by the album’s title track So-Called Chaos, which is also the first time an Alanis Morissette album has had a title track. I actually really like this track on the album, as I found it a good way to combine the happier lyrics on the album with her alternative sound.

The next track from the album is Not All Me. Maybe it’s just me, but I also thought the synth at the beginning of the song was a throwback to her earlier works, but it’s quickly changed as the song continues. This Grudge is the album’s black sheep, as it’s actually a song inspired by the journals she used for her writing during Jagged Little Pill. As such, it feels a bit out of place on this album, but I still really enjoy it and I think it fits in with this album weirdly enough. Spineless is the album’s penultimate track. I do really like it, but it’s before my favourite song off the CD, so I always skip it. /bad fan

Everything is the album’s closer, and it’s also my favourite track from the album. It’s actually one of my favourite songs from her overall, despite how dramatically happier it is compared to everything else she does. The music video for the song is also good, but the single edit of the song is like a full minute shorter which is why I liked the full song above. This was also the Alanis Morissette song I had playing during my wedding, because I was determined to have one and trying to find a wedding-appropriate Alanis song was a logistical mess.

MY PERSONAL TRACK LISTING:

  1. Everything
  2. Eight Easy Steps
  3. So-Called Chaos
  4. Doth I Protest Too Much
  5. This Grudge
  6. Spineless
  7. Excuses
  8. Not All Me
  9. Out is Through
  10. Knees of My Bees

 

B-sides from the singles released from this album were acoustic and alternate recordings of songs that were part of what was known as the Vancouver Sessions. While unfortunately no official release has transpired, fan bootlegs have been compiled over the years and I actually really dug the acoustic versions of the songs featured.

 

As part of the press for So-Called ChaosiTunes Originals – Alanis Morissette was released a month later, which features ten acoustic performances of songs from Jagged Little Pill onward as well as ten commentary/interview tracks between each song and an introduction. There weren’t any new songs premiered, but I like the acoustic sound on the songs, so I wanted to mention it.

In keeping with the acoustic theme, 2005 also saw the tenth anniversary of Jagged Little Pill. To celebrate, Alanis Morissette – alongside original album producer Glen Ballard – rerecorded the entire album acoustically. Since I’ve already talked about each of the songs individually, I’m not going to do so again; but, as with before, my favourite off this release is also Forgiven.

 

2005 also saw the release of Alanis’s first greatest hits compilation, The Collection. While its largely a compilation of Jagged Little Pill through So-Called Chaos (meaning her two Canadian-only releases weren’t included), it also features a new track in a cover of Seal’s Crazy. Additional, it compiles her track Mercy from Jonathan Elias’ The Prayer Circle, Still (from the Dogma soundtrack), Uninvited and her cover of Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love) from the De-Lovely soundtrack.

 

In 2007, for an April Fools Day prank, Alanis released a studio recording and accompanying music video for her cover of My Humps. It’s legendary.

 

2008 saw the release of Alanis Morissette’s final album with Maverick Records, Flavors of Entanglement. The album is actually more of a dance-pop oriented album than her previous releases on Maverick, focusing on synthesizers and techno beats. In that vein, it’s perhaps the most similar to her first two albums, but the songwriting and production value is obviously far more mature.

Citizen of the Planet is the album’s opening track. It’s a really fun track and I think it’s her best album-opening track, or second best after All I Really Want. The album’s lead single is Underneath, which also serves as the second track from the album. Fun fact: Underneath went diamond in Brazil, making Alanis Morissette the only female artist to have a diamond-certified single in that country. Legends only. My personal favourite song off the album is Straitjacket, which serves as this album’s third track. I also really like the backing beat, which probably contributes to me liking it as much as I do.

Another synth-pop song, Versions of Violence, follows. The production on this track is one of my favourite things about this album. Another ballad in Not as We follows, which is a song about the various stages of emotional recovery. The next song is the mid-tempo In Praise of the Vulnerable Man. I like both songs, but between the two, I prefer the second song. The next track is Moratorium, which I find is one of the album’s highlights in terms of its lyrical content and production value.

Torch follows, and it’s lyrically similar to her earlier work on Maverick in terms of it dealing with love and heartbreak. So it makes sense that it’s then juxtaposed against Giggling Again for No Reason, which deals with the happiness that comes with starting a new relationship with “the right one.” Tapes follows that, and it’s another ballad of yearning and another of the album’s highlights for me. The standard edition of the album’s final track is Incomplete, which I find appropriate since it’s a song that talks about looking forward to what the future holds – which I think fits in well with this album’s overarching message.

The digital version of the album came with the bonus track, It’s a Bitch to Grow Up, which is a nice song; a bit on the filler side, I can see why it was cut from the standard edition. The Japanese version of the album comes with the additional bonus track, 20/20, which was released on the Underneath single. It’s one of my favourite tracks from this session, so I’m a bit bummed that it wasn’t included on the final cut.

The deluxe version of the album comes with a bonus disc of five new songs. Those songs are Orchid, The Guy Who Leaves, Madness, Limbo No More and On the Tequila. I like all five of them, but The Guy Who Leaves is easily my favourite of these additional tracks. I’m not sure why they elected to just make them a separate disc for a deluxe edition considering the length of her previous albums, but that didn’t stop me from purchasing this version.

MY PERSONAL TRACK RANKING:

  1. Straitjacket
  2. Tapes
  3. Citizen of the Planet
  4. The Guy Who Leaves (Deluxe Edition Bonus Track)
  5. 20/20 (Japanese Bonus Track)
  6. Moratorium
  7. Incomplete
  8. In Praise of the Vulnerable Man
  9. Orchid (Deluxe Edition Bonus Track)
  10. Versions of Violence
  11. Giggling Again for No Reason
  12. Madness (Deluxe Edition Bonus Track)
  13. Torch
  14. On the Tequila (Deluxe Edition Bonus Track)
  15. Limbo No More (Deluxe Edition Bonus Track)
  16. Not as We
  17. Underneath
  18. It’s a Bitch to Grow Up (Digital Bonus Track)

 

After leaving Maverick Records, Alanis began work on her next album, which would be her first to be released independently. havoc and bright lights is her first work since her marriage, so the songs were mostly tied into her spirituality and motherhood.

The album’s lead single was its opening track this time around, which was Guardian. I can see why they chose this, as I find it one of the album’s highlights and it’s probably the most rock-sounding of the tracks on this release. Woman Down follows, which I liked; it also sounds like it could’ve fit onto Flavors of Entanglement, so I’m glad that she was continuing that sound for a bit on this album. ‘Til You, the first of this album’s ballads, is the third track. The fourth track from the album is Celebrity, which is also one of my favourite tracks off this album. Part of the album’s title comes from this song, as she mentions “bright lines” in one of the songs.

Empathy is the next track. The music video is one of my favourite of her music videos, as it’s about the struggles and worries she and others had. The album’s second single was the next track was Lens, which is perhaps more relevant nowadays than it was was even when it was released in 2012. Spiral is the next song and it’s followed by Numb. Numb is my favourite track from the album, so perhaps it makes sense that I don’t really pay much attention to Spiral as a result.

The album’s ninth track Havoc is responsible for the other half of the album’s name. It’s one of the album’s slower tracks, but I feel like it works after Numb and I really like it. Win and Win is the tenth track, and it’s followed by the album’s final single Receive. The song is about a relationship in which one person gives more than the other, and the wear it causes to the people involved. The final track from the standard edition is Edge of Evolution.

Between the various editions of havoc and bright lights, there are eight bonus tracks in total. The first two are from the European edition, which was released as the deluxe edition in North America. The first is Will You Be My Girlfriend, which I’ve assumed was written by Alanis from the perspective of her husband when they first started dating. Magical Child is the second, and it’s actually one of my favourite songs from these sessions overall. I really like the airy tone she sings the song in. There is a third bonus track by the name of Jakyll and Hyde that was added on the iTunes deluxe edition. It’s a fun song, and it features a bonus rap by Alanis’s husband SoulEye, but I definitely think it feels out of place on the album overall.

The Target-exclusive version of the album ditches the above three tracks for three of its own. Big Sur is the first such track, and while it’s another happy-go-lucky song, I actually really enjoy it. Similar to Magical Child, I like the airy tone it gives. Guru is the next bonus track, and it also features a rap by her husband SoulEye. Tonewise, this song really reminds me of Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, so I’m obviously a fan of it; I’d say it’s my favourite of the various bonus tracks, actually. Permission is the third of the Target edition tracks, and it’s another strong track. Overall, I prefer the three Target exclusive tracks to the three bonus tracks from the iTunes deluxe version.

After the standard twelve tracks, the Amazon version adds Tantra. It’s another song that I can hear the Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie influence and I do like it, but I rank it a bit lower than I did with Guru. The Japanese version then swaps Tantra for its own track, which is No. It’s a pretty heavy song lyrically, but it’s still a highlight for me.

There’s also the German edition, which contains a bonus CD/DVD of her Live in Berlin concert. I’m not gonna bother linking to all of its tracks, but I’ve checked it out and I liked the setlist that she did for the show.

MY PERSONAL TRACK RANKING:

  1. Numb
  2. Celebrity
  3. Lens
  4. Guru (Target Deluxe Edition)
  5. Guardian
  6. Havoc
  7. Receive
  8. Woman Down
  9. No (Japanese Bonus Track)
  10. Magical Child (Deluxe Edition)
  11. Big Sur (Target Deluxe Edition)
  12. Permission (Target Deluxe Edition)
  13. Empathy
  14. Edge of Evolution
  15. Jekyll and Hyde (iTunes Bonus Track)
  16. Tantra (Amazon Bonus Track)
  17. Spiral
  18. ‘Til You
  19. Will You Be My Girlfriend (Deluxe Edition)
  20. Win and Win

 

MY PERSONAL STUDIO ALBUM RANKING:

  1. Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie
  2. Jagged Little Pill
  3. Flavors of Entanglement
  4. Feast on Scraps
  5. So-Called Chaos
  6. havoc and bright lights
  7. Under Rug Swept
  8. Now is the Time
  9. Alanis

 

Shortly after the release of havoc and bright lights, a new live album by the name of Live at Montreal 2012 was released in 2013. The CD/DVD/Blu-Ray is a recording of her show at Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland on July 2, 2012.

As the twentieth anniversary of Jagged Little Pill approached in 2015, Alanis announced she was going to do a Collector’s Edition rerelease of it. In addition to a 32-page hard-bound booklet, she was also remastering the entire CD, including the tenth anniversary acoustic CD, a CD of demos that didn’t make the final cut back in 1995 and then a live show she performed in London. As part of the press for the album, she also did a couple television show appearances. My favourite was her and James Corden updating the lyrics for a 2015 society:

On the CD with demos, the opening track is The Bottom Line. It was actually the first song written and recorded for the Jagged Little Pill sessions, when Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard first met and were trying to figure out their vibe together. The next track is Superstar Wonderful Weirdos, which is my favourite of the demos on this CD. Closer Than You Might Believe is the next song and it’s followed by No Avalon, which is another highlight of the demos. Comfort is up next, which is a piano-driven ballad.

The next song is Gorgeous, which she’d actually played a few times during the tours for Jagged Little Pill and Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. We move from the piano to the early formative sounds of Jagged Little Pill in King of Intimidation. Cinderella is, weirdly enough, the song from these demos that I think sounds the most like it belongs on Jagged Little Pill. However, her voice on certain lyrics sounds closer to how it did on her dance-pop albums, so I can see why they elected not to go further with this song. London is another slower song, but I think it’s the best of those songs on this list. The final track is These Are The Thoughts, which had actually been released previously on her MTV Unplugged album as a live/acoustic recording.

MY PERSONAL TRACK RANKING:

  1. Superstar Wonderful Weirdos
  2. Death of Cinderella
  3. King of Intimidation
  4. No Avalon
  5. These Are The Thoughts
  6. London
  7. The Bottom Line
  8. Gorgeous
  9. Comfort
  10. Closer Than You Might Believe

 

For a while, news was scarce on her next album. After the unfortunate suicide of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, she performed a new piece entitled Rest at the Linkin Park and Friends tribute concert in August 2017. In 2018, she premiered Ablaze during a concert. In addition to the titles Reckoning, Diagnosis, Her and Legacy having been discovered, she also contributed two new songs – Smiling and Predator – to Jagged Little Pill: The Musical. In June 2019, she finally confirmed that recording had started on her newest album after a seven-year gap.

Which brings us to today, when she finally released her newest single. Its release was announced just a few days ago, so to say I haven’t had much time to process the information was definitely an understatement. Nonetheless, it was all I could talk about in the days leading up to it, and when it finally premiered on Spotify and Apple Music, I was listening to it on repeat until I fell asleep.

As expected, the song is a new musical direction for the singer following the release of havoc and bright lights. I’m personally a fan of the guitar riffs that are present in the song, and I’m as eager as ever to see what direction the subsequent album, Such Pretty Forks in the Road, will take once it’s released in May. The supporting tour, a twenty-fifth anniversary tour of Jagged Little Pill, looks as promising as ever, and I’m anxiously awaiting for the ticket pre-sale to go live to check out the prices and try and get a good seat.

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