Alanis Morissette
Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie


4.5
superb

Review

by neekafat CONTRIBUTOR (61 Reviews)
August 3rd, 2017 | 33 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Are you still mad?

I pulled out my step-father’s album booklet, desperate to find something to make the long car ride quicker. I snickered to myself. “What?” he asked. I pointed to the name “Alanis Morissette.” I had only known her as the pop-rock queen of “Ironic” and “Hand in My Pocket.” He politely told me to shut up and to put Jagged Little Pill in.

Needless to say I was floored by the surprisingly dark depths of her personality and biting rage. But after I put in her following album, I had only one question:

“Why does no one talk about Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie?”

My only thought was that no one expected it. It was clear right off the bat that Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie is a completely different beast from Jagged Little Pill. Just on the opener “Front Row,” the layered vocals, hip-hop beat, and chorus that sounds like it was recorded on some kind of alien planet just completely shatters any preconceptions of her sound.

Lyrically it’s one of the greatest albums of all time. She manages to jump from innocence and fragility on “That I Would Be Good” to world-weary wisdom of an omniscient being experiencing the lives of no-one and yet everyone on “The Couch.” On many tracks she masters a songwriting in which she uses a repetitive phrases to begin each line in a song. It drives your attention to the lyrics better than many other techniques I’ve heard. For example, in “Thank U” she begins every line of the verses with “How ‘bout” and every line of the choruses with “Thank you.” While this sounds cheesy and annoying, she makes it work splendidly:

“How bout me not blaming you for everything
How bout me enjoying the moment for once
How bout how good it feels to finally forgive you
How bout grieving it all one at a time

Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment”

Not convinced? Even better is “Are You Still Mad,” an entire song built around sickening repetition. The redundancy of the title phrase. The plodding piano riff that eventually blossoms into a menacing string section. The way her voice shatters into a series of echoes as she taunts, “Of course you are.” All of this should be frustrating, a vexing experience that tires you out and makes you anxious for finality. Inexplicably it achieves all this in the best way possible. Her taunt eventually gives way to guilt, only adding to the toxic whirlwind of emotions being flung about every which way.

“Are you still mad I wore the pants most of the time?
Are you still mad that I seemed to focus only on your potential?
Are you still mad that I threw in the towel?
Are you still mad that I gave up long before you did?

Of course you are
Of course you are”

It’s confusing, maddening, yet strangely attractive. Perhaps this is what life was like for Alanis Morissette.

Each of these moods and emotions are supported by some of the thickest and deepest atmospheres ever put to tape. There’s a never-ending series of instruments, sounds, worlds, eras explored here, each one more ethereal and mysterious than the one before it. The album sounds absolutely nothing like Jagged Little Pill. The solid musicianship and lyricism is there, but a devilish experimentalism has taken over. This is her “Tusk,” made after she realized there’s no point in trying to duplicate the success of her pop crowning achievement. Songs like “Baba” switch midway and seamlessly from one idea to another, in this case from full-on metal inspiration to something that could be sung in some kind of art-rock cathedral. It gets to the point that I’m pretty sure there’s a chicken clucking sound effect during the chorus of “Would Not Come.” Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie is all at once desperately human and frighteningly alien.

The gorgeous “Unsent” serves as an excellent marriage between the lyrics and music on the album. On the surface, it’s a simple series of letters written to different men from Morisette’s young adulthood. But each verse is addressed to one individual, there are no choruses, and she doesn’t even bother trying to rhyme. Yet what sounds like it would be a chaotic mess of a song is given a masterful structure through the music. Each man she speaks of has a different mood, different instruments take the center stage, the pacing ebbs and flows like a tide all supporting Morissette’s blissful words.

If there’s one clear fault to all of this, it’s the length. Crashing in at a massive 72 minutes spread over 17 tracks, it could be argued that the album could benefit from a slight trim. Not by me however, in my opinion every track has a place and purpose here (even if the closer, “Your Congratulations” can be a bit much.)

Needless to say, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie is not an album to fuck around with.

And perhaps that’s the answer to the question right there. This is not an accessible album. An entrancing, mysterious, hulking, beautiful album, yes. But the penetrating lyrics, sometimes ridiculous experiments, and towering size all exhibit potential turn-offs for those who were fans of her simple, angsty alt-rock hits of old.

Her audience couldn’t get into it, and the audience that would get into it wouldn’t bother with the name “Alanis Morissette” plastered over the cover, as eerie as the art was.

So it comes down to this: If you liked Jagged Little Pill check this out, if you didn’t, please for the love of God check this out.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
August 3rd 2017


18134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is probably a mess but I wanted to get it out before I left work so please let me know your thoughts and I'll fix what I can when I can

It's a bit all over the place and stream-of-consciousness (but so is the album so I don't feel bad) ;)

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
August 3rd 2017


18134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pretty sure she did

She dated Ryan Reynolds for forever I know that much

Drifter
August 3rd 2017


16399 Comments


Sweet review my neeka

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
August 3rd 2017


18134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you my drift, any notes?

Drifter
August 3rd 2017


16399 Comments


Does someone who's struggling to review in the first place have any notes?

No sorry

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
August 3rd 2017


18134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good point

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
August 3rd 2017


3198 Comments


Terrific review, my man... You handle longer pieces very well. There were three or so noticeable typos ("being" instead of "begin," "string section The way her" misses a full stop, and "an excellent marriage of the perfect marriage") so it's worth another quick proofread if you get a chance. Excusable given how much content is in this, though.

This does sound like something I'd enjoy, so I will, for the love of you and God, check this.

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
August 3rd 2017


18134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Appreciate it man, like I said I had to rush it out there and was just waiting for your reply to help clean things up lol

You gotta let me know what you think!

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
August 3rd 2017


19080 Comments


Nice take on it Neeka, I love this album. Check the unplugged versions of Baba and I Was Hoping from the MTV show. Amazing stuff.

Digging: Pure Reason Revolution - Eupnea

MO
August 3rd 2017


22871 Comments


good 'ol alanis

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
August 3rd 2017


18134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks Dewi! I'll be sure to give that I listen



ZombieToyDuck
August 3rd 2017


7078 Comments


will read this shortly, I dig Alanis

DivergentThinking
August 3rd 2017


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fuckyeah dude!!! One of the most underrated albums ever... thank you for shedding more light on this one

DivergentThinking
August 3rd 2017


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Aiwaz: You Oughta Know was written about Dave Coulier

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 3rd 2017


25499 Comments


finally got a chance to read...well done stuff dude...def convinced me to give her another shot altho I love You Oughta Know

Digging: Childish Gambino - 03.15.20

butcherboy
August 3rd 2017


9464 Comments


neeka, legitimately never heard anything by her except ironic and you oughta know, but will be checking this one now.. terrific review!

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
August 4th 2017


19080 Comments


Dogma!

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
August 4th 2017


18134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks everyone!

@Soccer, I almost want to 5 it haha

@Con/butch, can't wait to hear what you guys think!

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
August 4th 2017


18134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh btw, "Front Row" was partly about her and Kevin James having the hots for each other but not wanting to be a thing

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
August 4th 2017


18134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nah but I really want to, that's the Kevin Smith/Ben Affleck movie right?



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