Review Summary: Anger and joy in a neat electro-pop package.
Alanis Morrisette is one of those artists that you've heard of at one point or another. Ever since she released Little Jagged Pill in 1995, listeners have taken note. Entirely unapologetic and pissed off, her approach to lyrics and music has set her apart from the others in her genre. Sure, we all remember her stint in Dogma (by the way, thank you, Alanis, for blowing up Ben Affleck’s head. He needed it), but the woman can sing as well, and she wants you to know it.
Flavors Of Entanglement, the singer’s 6th album, sees Alanis flying all over the spectrum, embracing some experimental pop qualities along with her traditional piano ballads and electronica tunes. Her split from actor Ryan Reynolds surely went into some of the album’s more angry tracks, but resignation also makes its way into the music, as well as the joyous atmosphere found on “So Called Chaos.” Coupled with Alanis’s co-production with Guy Sigsworth, Flavors is quite the album.
Citizen Of The Planet
, the album’s opener, is described by Rolling Stone Magazine as “Enya meets System Of A Down.” Strings and some Eastern instruments make up the verses, with Alanis appearing a bit more subdued than usual. The chorus kicks in with an intensity and fervor that makes you sit up and really listen. The contrast between the two parts really brings out the essence of the song, and it ranks up there with one of the best tunes on the album.
Keeping with the intense themes and dark sounding music, both Versions Of Violence
do nicely. The former is an electro-industrial masterpiece, with furious electronics and vocals backed up with some great programmed drums. The latter is Morrisette’s self proclaimed “readiness to stop repeating bad patterns,” especially in her love life. The sublety of the synths and instruments clash head on with the intense drum beat, which, in a curious bit of production, is placed front and center. Ultimately, it pays off, bringing the song a renewed life coupled with Morrisette’s beautiful voice and powerful lyrics.
“I declare a moratorium on things relationship
I declare a respite from the toils of liaison
I do need a breather from the flavors of entanglement
I declare a full time out from all things commitment.”
Morrisette’s message is devastatingly clear, and the song gives her the perfect way to convey it.
However, there is plenty of joy to be had as well. Giggling Again For No Reason
calls to mind a poppy techno tune, upbeat and full of life. Alanis just has fun with her life, without a care in the world. In Praise Of The Vunerable Man
sees Alanis fawning over a man who cares for her, who loves her, who would do anything for her. Incomplete
combines folky acoustic guitar with bells and music boxes for, again, a beautiful uplifting song. And even though Straitjacket
’s lyrics are completely opposite from the song’s feel, you can’t help but get up and dance to the dance floor rave beats. True, the joyous atmosphere starts to get a little overbearing towards the end of the album (I always thought pissed off Alanis was much much better than happy Alanis), but the music is nonetheless well written.
So, what we have from the Canadian-American singer-songwriter is another quality album. That’s all there is to it. Although one would be hard pressed to find any tracks that really stand out (besides Citizen Of The Planet and Moratorium, two of the best songs Alanis has written to date), the album is a great new foray for Morrisette, and should be listened to at least once.
Citizen Of The Planet
Versions Of Violence