Release Date: Jun 10, 2008
Record label: Warner Brothers
Genre(s): Rock, Singer-Songwriter
The running joke goes like this: as soon as Alanis Morissette suffered a heartbreak like she did prior to Jagged Little Pill, she would once again write lyrics as vitriolic as confessional as that 1995 breakthrough. As any tabloid follower knows -- and really, in the new millennium we all follow the tabloids whether we like it or not -- Alanis split from fiancé Ryan Reynolds after the release of 2004's So-Called Chaos, an album that floated joyously on her newfound love, so it's no great stretch to see its 2008 follow-up, Flavors of Entanglement, as its opposite, a classic breakup record. And it is, filled with songs of heartbreak, anger, and regret, along with a healthy dose of self affirmation -- or at least it seems that way, as Alanis' words are harder than ever to parse, a mangled web of garbled syntax, overheated metaphors, and mystifying verbal contortions all requiring too much effort to decode.
Who didn’t see this one coming? Alanis Morissette splits with fiancé Ryan Reynolds, who’s soon canoodling with starlet-turned-Tom-Waits-cover-girl Scarlett Johansson, and we get to feel the fury of a woman scorned for 11 tracks. While Morissette’s weaknesses are the same – her lyrics are still overwrought, as though torn from some broken-hearted schoolgirl’s diary – this disc is an easier pill to swallow than her last couple. The tabla-tinged opener Citizen Of The Planet lets us know immediately that Morissette’s grown musically if not lyrically (thanks, certainly, to co-writer/producer Guy Sigsworth).
Once upon a time — oh, let’s just call it North America in the mid-’90s, shall we? — Weezer and Alanis Morissette were an inescapable part of the cultural landscape, churning out buoyant rock-radio hits (Weezer), wordy, eccentric anthems (Alanis), and MTV-friendly videos (both) with impressive consistency. Each act’s follow-ups, however, have failed to yield quite the success of their initial impact. So how, in the face of a never-ending rush of fresh industry blood, does an already established act stay relevant? For Morissette, the answer on new CD Flavors of Entanglement seems to lie, for better or worse, in going through a really, really bad breakup.