Review Summary: SECRET PASTS PART 1: Well, life has a funny way of sneaking up on you when you think everything's okay and everything's going right... and then your secret past gets out.
Before Alanis Morissette was setting trends, she was following them. I could probably just stop typing and leave that as a perfect summation of this album, but even those words alone don't seem to do justice to the depraved fun that this listening experience promises. Of course, almost every musician has a "secret past" that they don't want people knowing about, but Alanis' is truly something special. Of course, if you hear her name nowadays, you'll most likely associate her with "You Oughtta Know" that sing that made pretty much every man afraid to fuck with their girlfriends, or the Canadian sweetheart whose mid-90s release became the sleeper hit of the 90s and even had grown men driving down the freeway while belting "It's like raaaaaaaiiiiinnn on your wedding day" as loud as they could. Well, at least most people outside of Canada do. Most people from Canada remember her days as one of the most shameless examples of "mall pop" of the late 80s/early 90s. Yep, that's right, she was one of those Debbie Gibsons or Tiffanys or whatever we are calling them, and the album is just as bad as you'd expect... But it's also secretly fun to listen to.
Alanis released two albums before becoming the angsty flower girl she's known as worldwide, and this is arguably the better of them, but that's not saying much. This album wears its 90sness on its sleeve, and isn't even ashamed of it. Just a quick scroll of the first thirty seconds and you'll hear it all: ultra-dated upbeat pop beats, splurgy synths, production that would make MC Hammer scream in fear. Yep, this album is just as cheesy as they come. Right off the bat, "Feel Your Love" graces our ears with music that sounds almost like a parody of New Kids on the Block. The lyrics are hilariously bad and the chorus is just pure cheese. Ultimately though it's just the beginning of this festival of sadistic fun. The real gut-buster comes about four tracks in when we are treated to "Plastic", ultimately the "Hallowed Be Thy Name" of bad music. Its beat is so ridiculous, the music is laughably dated, Alanis is stretching her voice ultra thin here, and the lyrics? Well, here's just a sample:
"You got a plastic girl in a plastic bed
And she's in your house made of gingerbread
And you're in there too
Got a plastic smile on a plastic face
But it's underneath that you can't erase
But what can you do-do-do?"
Oh, but it's not over yet. The rest of the experience is almost surreal with how bad it is. The sad thing about "Walk Away" is that it actually would be a fun pop,tune if it weren't for its ridiculous instrumentation complete with fucking record scratches and production. Alanis' thin and nasal voice doesn't really help matters, and try not to listen too hard to the lyrics or you'll hear "You'll never think before you break all the rules/Youmgotta be crazy if you think I'm a fool
". But we are not even half way through this shit storm yet; the real fun comes from track 9, titled "Oh Yeah". This song just plain is the epitome of "it can't get any worse than this". From start to finish, it's a clusterfuck. The ill-fitting funk beat. The random witch cackles looped throughout the song. Alanis singing in a Sean Connery voice. And I'm not freaking making that up, she actually sings the whole song in a Sean Connery voice. She taunts us with this notion that she's our "teacher girl" or whatever. Hell, just the intro is pure gold:
"My name is Alanis
I'm a white chick shinger
The drumsh are a shmoking and shosh the bash
Shake that thing (chicka chicka chicka ah)
When you shing (chicka chicka chicka oh yeah!)
Jusht shikshteen (chicka chicka chicka ah)
No dishco queen (chicka chicka chicka ooh yeah!)"
Believe it or not, there is actually a pretty decent song on this album. The second track, "Too Hot" is a pretty catchy tune, and is pretty fun to,listen to. It could probably have fit very well on Jagged Little Pill
, as its lyrics are pretty clever and its beat is actually danceable. But otherwise, it's not hard to see why Alanis Morissette considers this her old shame- it is so bad it's actually hilarious, it's dated as hell, she sounds awful on it and it's just generally one sadistic experience from start to finish. Yet, it's so bad you can't hate it- you actually have to admire its sheer awfulness. And even then, it's a lot more listenable than a lot of pop music today, but I will say, thankfully she doesn't make this kind of music today.