You remember Alanis Morissette. The Canadian-American hitmaker struck gold in the 1990s with songs such as 'You Oughta Know' and 'Ironic', both of which became embedded in the public consciousness for years afterwards, and has maintained a steady career ever since. Originally due to be released in May, her latest record was delayed because of that annoying little ba***** known as COVID-19, but finally it's here for us all to enjoy.
Anyone expecting it to sound like those hits will be disappointed, or at least surprised, as this is quite a world away from that '90s alt-rock sound. An album of ballads predominantly led by Pianos, this is a much softer and more considered album from an artist who has been on the block for a good while now. There's little in the way of upbeat songs; instead, Morissette takes her time to reflect upon subjects such as the patriarchy, post-partum depression and her children.
It's certainly a solid record, with some real highlights embedded throughout. While songs such as 'Smiling', 'Ablaze' and 'Losing The Plot' are all decent, the album's high points come back-to-back, as both 'Reasons I Drink' and 'Diagnosis' really stand tall amongst the rest of the album's songs, though in very different ways. Being a slow Piano number, 'Diagnosis' is more indicative of the album as a whole, but it just does it better than the rest, bringing real emotion and tenderness throughout. You really feel Morissette's heart during this one; it's a soulful and beautiful song.
'Reasons I Drink', on the other hand, is about as close to those '90s days as she gets here in 2020, and it's certainly the catchiest song here. The chorus is a true earworm, and would go down excellently with festival crowds. Anyone looking for a small slice on 'Ironic' should look no further, though it should be noted that it's still a very different song. With that said, it's full of fantastic melodies and feels like the 1990s all over again - not necessarily in comparison to Morissette, but just in general.
And tell a lie, there is one more highlight - the album's penultimate track 'Nemesis'. Clocking in at just under six minutes in length, it is by far the longest on here, and is a proper journey. Made up of a number of different sections, it's the most complex track on the record and one that fans will surely love.
Individual songs aside, the key to this album isn't actually the quality of it - it's how at ease Morissette sounds throughout. You can tell that someone like me could write anything they like about this album, positive or negative, and she really wouldn't care. This sounds like HER album, a record that is precisely what she wanted to make it. She sounds comfortable, at ease, and despite the perhaps sadder nature of a few of the songs, there's a definite sense that she's enjoying herself as she's singing. That's the best way to be as an artists, and it's good to hear.
Did I love this record? Not as much as I have done some others this year, but it's still a good and solid album from an artist who continues to march on. It's important to note that whilst Rolling Stone once labelled her as the 'Queen of Alt-Rock Angst', those days are now behind her. This is a softer record, much more laid-back, but it's also no worse for it. Those looking for a Morissette fix will be pleased, and Morissette herself appears to be pleased with it as well, and in the end, isn't that all that matters?
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