Alanis Morissette
Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie



by Nick Butler EMERITUS
October 19th, 2009 | 13 replies

Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pretty underrated, actually.

Whaddaya know. It's not as bad as everybody says it is.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I completely don't get why everybody ragged on this album so hard, and continues to do so. You criticize Jagged Little Pill for being a pop album with little in the way of real expression masquerading as a feminist statement, and then you criticize the follow-up for being too uncompromising and not having enough hooks? Derp.

Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie is a sprawling, messy album that sees Morrissette laying herself bare - the nakedness of the "Thank U" video mirrors the plain emotional honesty of this record. The one criticism I hear most often about this album - that she simply crams too many words and too many ideas into every song - rings true, but I don't see it as a flaw. In fact, the sheer density of the songs is usually their greatest strengths. It certainly makes repeated listening worthwhile.

The major flaw for me is related, though; the song lengths. It might not look much on paper, but 4:18 of "Thank U" is a lot, and so is 4:40 of "One", and 4:04 of "Are You Still Mad", and so on. Funnily enough, the one song that definitely doesn't outstay its welcome is the longest on the album - "The Couch" is the album's best song and although it's a completely different beast, it could put up a fight with any of the singles from the previous album. But elsewhere, the skip button greatly improves the listening experience, to the point where shaving a minute from each track puts this on a par with Jagged Little Pill, just as shaving 2 minutes from each track on Music for the Jilted Generation makes it a genuine rival to The Fat of the Land.

It's odd, given that flaw, that the album flows so well. Initially, on "Front Row" through "The Couch", the effect is one of "You Oughta Know" merging with The Downward Spiral (or to be more accurate, The Fragile, although that wasn't to be released until the next year). Then, the ballads kick in. It's here, and with "The Couch", that Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie really feels like it's taking flight. These songs allow space in the mix, aiming for something more ambient and ethereal, an effect which makes Morrissette's rambling, dense narratives seem more natural. But it just goes on for too long - you naturally expect the album to return to the quasi-industrial territory it starts in, and it doesn't. "Unsent" and "So Pure" are decent enough as stand-alone songs, but they really drag when you're listening to them after 6 other songs that sound more or less the same. The crunching guitars in "Joining You" are a wake-up call, but it's too little, too late - the album has lost its shot at being her best work.

But in spite of whatever faults it might have, I'm really glad this record exists. I mean, how else could her career have gone? Did you really want to her to end up making an album like Liz Phair's self-titled, or Jewel's 0304? Exactly. Fair play to Alanis for doing what felt right.

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This record represents a stage of transience by an artist on an indefinite musical journey, in searc...

Comments:Add a Comment 
Staff Reviewer
October 19th 2009



October 19th 2009


her sextape is pretty good

October 19th 2009


She has a sextape? So gonna look for that right now.

The Sludge
October 20th 2009


This has got to be the most well written review I've read in awhile.

October 20th 2009


lol, kudos for the Jewel comparison.

Digging: Jenny Hval - Apocalypse, girl

October 20th 2009


I don't have this one but Thank U is an amazing song (and even better when Blackfield covered it)

October 20th 2009


Joining You is a fucking amazing song.

October 20th 2009


Her armpit hair is incredibly erotic

October 20th 2009


Album Rating: 4.5

I think the album is extremely underrated; every Alanis album since SFIJ, while good and some very good, attempts to reach JLP heights but not quite reaching them. This was the perfect follow up to JLP.

October 20th 2009


Album Rating: 1.5

nah i'm sorry this album puts me to sleep.

jagged little pill is awesome though.

November 10th 2009


i can't believe staff are reviewing albums from 1998, with all the other good albums out right now

January 3rd 2013


I discovered a few years ago the first 2 Lps of Miss Morissette (she sold so many albums, and i was feeling so ashamed of being able to talk about her hits only) so i tried to listen to her "bests works". The one that suprised me the most was this "SFIJ" Tracks like "sympathetic Character", "I was Hopping", "would not come" (with great electronic drums fused with hard guitars) or even the harsh and dirty, trip hop inspired "Can´t not" (Written & playing during the jagged little pill tour) and the awesome track "So pure" (with drum& base low pitched beats) prove that the album was a big challenge for an artist who sold so many albums, with her previous work. It could have been a JLP2 but she decided to create something intimate and really focused on new ways of creating rock music with dance floor beats. Although the album can be long, sometimes boring (I don´t like the ballads at all) it offers great surprises. A great comercial rock album that may have been misunderstood by mainstream people when it wanted to be a little bit more indie labeled

March 28th 2014


Great review. Good album.

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