Alanis Morissette
Under Rug Swept


3.5
great

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
February 25th, 2008 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Alanis' moody album full of subdued melodies which when combined with her fragile vocals helps create an album that goes beyond the upbeat and shallow Pop she normally produces.

Alanis Morissette made a name for herself when she released the album Jagged Little Pill and more specifically the single “You Oughta Know” which appealed to young women everywhere due to the empowered nature of the lyrics and her no-bullshit attitude. I, for one, never really liked that song or the album. Underneath the slightly confrontational lyrics (for a mainstream Pop album) was nothing of substance or interest. It wasn’t until this album that I thought she did something interesting and slightly original.

This album stands apart from her catalog due to an increased focus on slower, more subdued songs. Instead of upbeat rockers or catchy Pop, she focuses more on creating one mood and a uniform feeling of what almost feels like a mixture of regret and underlying anger. That feeling rides on beats that are mostly mellow and programmed in nature, backed by strummed acoustic guitars and subtle keyboard melodies; which gives Alanis the backdrop she needs to display some very emotional and vulnerable vocals. This focus on moodiness caused a lot of her fans to dismiss this album as boring, but for those that aren’t glued to the top 40, there was plenty to be offered.

Songs such as “Utopia” and “That Particular Time” are two great examples of this mood and vulnerability in action. They’re both slow songs that make great use of minimal instrumental accompaniment (pianos and slowly strummed guitars) to create a gripping mood in which Alanis’ fragile voice is able to pour out her emotions and regrets in a way that I would compare to Sarah Mclachlan except I think this is actually slightly better. Of course, since this a major label release by a top Pop act, there are some songs that are a little more upbeat then the songs I’ve just described, but they’re few and still aren’t what you could consider “uplifting”.

A song such as “So Unsexy” has a nice slow groove beat, and a subtle guitar riff that could have lent itself to a happy Pop song, but Alanis’ vocals and lyrical subject matter ensure that it doesn’t happen. Instead we get a song where she is singing of her insecurities around someone she sees as out of her league, again singing in a more vulnerable manner then most of her fans are probably used to. Even the first single, “Hands Clean”, keeps this vibe going. Admittedly, musically it is slightly upbeat, but lyrically it is still singing about a very real relationship that she was in that ended badly, but it is shown in a different light due to her switching between his perspective and her own.

The only real flaws to be found on this album are the first two tracks. The first track, “21 Things I want in a Lover”, comes off as slightly messy in her vocal delivery, and musically doesn’t offer anything special compared to the later tracks. The second track, “Narcissus” fares slightly better due to the rhythmic way that she delivers the verses, but the chorus is simply horrible. Her vocals become processed in a way that make them sound like a chipmunk singing out of key; I don’t know who thought that it could be a good idea to do that, but they were wrong. The only other redeeming factor for some would be that lyrically it is another “empowering” song where she rips on a guy that she sees as full of himself.

If you’re a big fan of Alanis Morissette, then I might not be the authority you want to listen to on this album, because, for me, this is the only release she’s ever had that I thought was good. On the other hand, if you like artists like Sarah Mclachlan or Lene Marlin, and found Alanis’ other albums too mainstream and shallow both musically and lyrically, then you may, as I did, end up pleasantly surprised by the quality of this release.



Recent reviews by this author
Kenn Nardi Dancing With the PastSick of It All The Last Act of Defiance
Meshuggah I (Special Edition)Cannibal Corpse A Skeletal Domain
Rabbit Junk Pop That Pretty ThirtyAnathema Distant Satellites
user ratings (80)
Chart.
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
February 25th 2008


16117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm aware that any non-metal reviews (by those other then staff) is like pissing into the ocean, but that's fine... I just killed two hours of work, if nothing else.

Digging: Kenn Nardi - Dancing With the Past

HighandDriving
February 25th 2008


3288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^^^True say to killing work.

fragile vocals?

Alanis Morissette has really almost been a one hit wonder and that hit being the classic album "Jagged Little Pill".
I've listen to her stuff post said album but really it all comes off as mediocre compared to JLP.

Willie
Moderator
February 25th 2008


16117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

By fragile, I mean she sounds vulnerable... I could use that word instead, I guess, because fragile could also mean "weak" and her vocals aren't weak.
I didn't like that "hit" or any album she has done other then this one... so in that regard we have differing opinons on which one is mediocre.

HighandDriving
February 25th 2008


3288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You're crazy.

Willie
Moderator
February 25th 2008


16117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah... you could say that. I don't like upbeat poppy music... that is why this one is more my thing... I even made sure to say so at the begining and end of the review.

rasputin
February 25th 2008


14555 Comments


Nice review. Have never really listened to Morissette, but I don't I would take a fancy to it.

Altmer
February 25th 2008


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album is decent, yes. I prefer Sarah McLachlan to her though.

Willie
Moderator
February 25th 2008


16117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I definitely prefer Sarah to her too... but those songs I mentioned and a few others on this album are just about as good of quality, I think. If you like Sarah, have you ever checked out Lene Marlin? She's awesome (especially stuff off of her first two albums... she's all over Youtube if you're bored).

HighandDriving
February 25th 2008


3288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Altmer

You're crazy.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 25th 2008


16089 Comments


Jagged Little Pill is not upbeat pop music.

Willie
Moderator
February 25th 2008


16117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The lyrics might not be all sunshine and flowers, but that album is still just sing-along Pop.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 25th 2008


16089 Comments


That doesn't make it upbeat.
This album is the same shit with a different side of her used to sell records.

Willie
Moderator
February 25th 2008


16117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

If the music makes me feel happy then it's upbeat... even if the words don't match the music... it's just my opinion... but I did forget to put IMO, so I understand that I may have come off as if I was trying to state facts ;)
It's not the same shit, musically it matches and compliments the lyrics and her singing so much better.... IMO

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 25th 2008


16089 Comments


I can not feel any emotional connection to this album at all. It was her trying to reinvent herself and it failed, although at least the songwriting is still good as opposed to her latest release.

Willie
Moderator
February 25th 2008


16117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I definitely feel an emotional response from this album, although I am a sucker for slow semi-depressing music with female vocals whether it's Pop, Metal, Trip-Hop... it doesn't matter.

although at least the songwriting is still good as opposed to her latest release.
That is something I can totally agree with.

Altmer
February 25th 2008


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah I know Lene Marlin as well. I don't like her as much as Alanis or mainly Sarah McLachlan anyways.

Willie
Moderator
February 26th 2008


16117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really? Lene Marlin is one of my favorite artists of any genre. I was kind of bummed to see that someone had already reviewed all her albums.

Altmer
February 26th 2008


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well you see my dad owns these albums, I don't. I've obviously heard them more than once, though. Lene Marlin never got to me much, but he's been playing Sarah McLachlan since I was two. So that's why I like her most.

This album is ok. I really like "Surrendering."This Message Edited On 02.26.08

Willie
Moderator
February 26th 2008


16117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hell yeah that's a good song... Lene Marlin's first album is almost entirely in the same vein as that song.This Message Edited On 02.26.08

SebastianJunior
October 4th 2012


25 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

If you're a fan of moody female-driven pop, this is definitely her best effort. She had so many juicy tracks, she released a sequel Feast On Scraps, featuring many songs that didn't make the final cut. Original but Lene Marlin is a good reference point here!



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy