Friday, 9 December 2005

Alanis and the Not-So-Jagged Little Album

Ask anyone what they think of Alanis Morissette (that's 1 R, two S's and two T's, BTW), and chances are this is what they'd say:

She should have stayed angry

or

I liked her better when she was angry

You see, Alanis had ONE brilliant album - Jagged Little Pill - which sparked the whole "I AM AN ANGRY WOMAN HEAR ME BITCH" movement in the 90's, and was THE album to have at the time of released.

Why? Because we could all relate to it. Whether you were male or female, her songs touched an angry nerve in all of us, and we wanted to sing it at the top of the lungs and say SCREW IT ALL at the same time. It's the kind of album you'd expect F***stress to be listening to most of the time.

All I Really Want was a brilliant opening number that set up the album's RANT RAGE BITCH theme. You Oughta Know was such an angry rant at ex-lovers that you wanted to scratch your nails down someone else's back for her. Ironic was the most ironically sarcastic song I ever heard back then (and ever since). You Learn's message is one that I've been following for years. And that bonus track Your House right at the end of the CD was the first hidden track I ever found (I still remember the thrill I got when I discovered there was a 'secret song' behind that repeat of You Oughta Know right at the end of the CD!)

So, Alanis won a whole bunch of Grammy awards for the album, performed at the Grammies, and then she decided to go search for her inner soul. So off she went to went to India, where she found her spiritual self, and Lo and Behold, released Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, which supposedly heralded a whole new Alanis Morissette who was supposedly calmer, and more spiritually centred.

Unfortunately, it didn't do her music much good, because while the songs she wrote were still good, people didn't connect with the songs as much as they did on the Jagged Little Pill album, mostly because, well, lets face it, how many of us actually ARE comfortable with our spiritual self? Most of us liked her music because we just want songs to scream and rant about, that's all. Not music to meditate to.

Isn't it ironic than once she found her spiritual self and became less angry, she then became less popular? After that album, her subsequent albums never quite made it as big as Jagged Little Pill, and so, this year, she decided to go back to that album, coming up with Jagged Little Pill Acoustic.

You live, you learn I guess. Maybe she realised that she would never be able to recreate the heydays of Jagged Little Pill, so she decided to go back to that album and try to convert her fans into believing that, "hey, that album may have been angry, but look what happens when the NEW, CALM me does it again. It doesn't sound so bad, does it?"

Sorry, Alanis, as much as I like your music, you oughta know by now that nothing beats the original Jagged Little Pill. The remade versions just don't capture the same energy that the original did. They may be acoustic versions (which are not supposed to be very er.. angry anyway), but still, this acoustic album just pales in comparison to their originals. They are slower yes, but they are also rather boring. Even the cover, though is the same concept of a 'stripped down Jagged Little Pill', looks so....boring.

Ironic just sounds too slow and no fun anymore, mostly because she took all the sarcasm out of the song. You Oughta Know is just not the same without that much faster motormouth section, and Your House with music is just not the same as that completely music-less version on the original. The only song I liked was All I Really Want, which I thought was pretty well done and sung with the same angry vibes as the original.

BTW, the best acoustic version of You Oughta Know is not on this album. It's the one you sang at the Grammies that year, and is an example of what EXACTLY is the way that the ENTIRE album should have been sung acoustically - stripped down, but laced with an simmering undercurrent of quiet anger.

She's also got a new compilation album - Alanis Morissette: The Collection - so if you can't be bothered to buy the rest of her stuff, just get this. It's got all the essentials, so you should be happy with it. So if you can only buy TWO Alanis Morissette albums in your ENTIRE LIFE, buy this compilation and the ORIGINAL Jagged Little Pill. That should cover all the best stuff she has, baring any better new ones, of course.

So, Alanis. PLEASE continue making new music. I don't think your new stuff is that bad anyway, and I'm still listening to your songs. But PLEASE DON'T even THINK of making an acoustic version of Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. I don't think I could handle the tedium...

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