Alanis Morissette - Havoc And Bright Lights
- Artist: Alanis Morissette
- Album: Havoc And Bright Lights
- Label: Collective Sounds
- Year of Release: 2012
- ME Rating:
- Reviewed by: carlita on 2012-09-04
After leading a generation to (willingly or unwillingly) swallow jagged little pills, savor delicious and sour flavors of entanglement, sweep things you'd prefer not to face head-on under rugs, it's been four years since we've heard from the quintessential confessional chanteuse, Alanis Morissette. Alanis describes this new album "Havoc and Bright Lights" as "a snapshot of what I currently obsess about, care about, and what strikes me at 4 in the morning in my most introspective moments...my emotional, psychological, social and philosophical commentary through song."
I, who will be going to see her live in a few weeks, might be one of the few people on Earth who remembers Alanis as a teen on a show called "You Can't Do That on Television" on Nickelodeon a looong time ago. To say she's not come a long way since then is to say her parody of the Black Eyed Peas' "My Humps" video a few years ago wasn't hilarious. On her seventh album in the rock/folk/pop arenas, as you might expect, she naturally reflects personal growth (as she's gotten married and had a baby); still rocking out but she might stop to sing a slow lullaby in between nowadays.
Letting go of the aggressive angst and anger (which some might prefer) that made her a 90's rock/pop goddess, she reveals a zen, maternal vibe (being a "keeper for life" and a "warrior of care" on "Guardian"), like a warm hearth on a cold winter's night on "Til You", "Havoc", "Receive" and "Empathy". Her peculiarly metaphoric observations ("cutting off her nose despite her face") about the world and her purpose within it remain but the serrated edge has dulled considerably along this new evolution. As a listener, realistically, one cannot expect the artist who praised her love's ability to take her "head over feet" and who perhaps said "Up Yours!" to her ex on "You Oughta Know" for breaking her heart to stay in that bubble forever, because it made us comfortable. Some will embrace this and others will not. I sit in the first camp.
The listener might recognize a glimpse of the insecure, brutally honest woman from earlier decades, peek out on "Spiral" and "Numb". Interestingly bringing in a producer who's worked with Madonna before, the Material girl-style emerges to address "lady haters" on "Woman Down" and "Edge of Evolution" but unlike Lady M, she does not enjoy being VIP on "Celebrity". Alanis continues to shine "bright lights" on family, pop culture, and in the spirit of her trademark, bares her translucent soul yet again, bringing the listener calming peace, but "havoc", not so much.
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