Alanis’ new album proves she’s angry no more

Brittany Moseley

Singer shares her thoughts on life, her

Alanis Morissette has some solutions for dealing with a break-up: tea, cuddles and spooning.

“Puppies are great too,” she added.

It’s disarming to hear Morissette, who is viewed as the queen of angry chick singers, talk about girly things like puppies and spooning. Morissette seems like the kind of woman who would rather smash the window of her ex’s car than sit up eating Ben & Jerry’s.

Yet, somewhere between her debut album “Jagged Little Pill,” which shattered the stereotypes of what a female musician should be, and her latest record “Flavors of Entanglement,” Morissette proved she can write music outside the boundaries of anger. Contrary to what some may believe, she is indeed human.

When she released “Jagged Little Pill” in 1995, Morissette started something new. Instead of writing about getting dumped and being depressed, Morissette delivered 12 songs that let everyone know how pissed she was. She took no prisoners. She made people squirm, and simultaneously made them fall in love with her honest, forthright songwriting.

“While I was writing (‘Jagged Little Pill’) with (Glen Ballard), he turned to me on several occasions and said, ‘Do you have any idea what you’re doing right now, how important this is?’ I remember turning to him and cocking my head and saying, ‘I don’t really know what you’re talking about, but I do know that I’m loving this process.'”

After her famous debut, Morissette was pegged as the poster child for the angry female singer, a label that Morissette is actually okay with.

“Well, if I’m going to be one-dimensionalized, it’s an honor to be considered angry, because anger has been swept under the carpet so much with regards to women that it’s flattering,” she said.

After taking three years off to go to India, Morissette released “Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie,” which was subtler than her debut, but just as enduring. “Under Rug Swept” was quirky, and at times forgiving of those who had wronged her. “So-Called Chaos” was Morissette’s “happy” album.

This June, Morissette did it again. After her break up with actor Ryan Reynolds, everyone was curious to hear her latest album. Would it channel “Jagged Little Pill,” or would it pick up where “So-Called Chaos” left off? As usual, Morissette did the unexpected. “Flavors of Entanglement” is more grief-stricken than angst-ridden, more current than retrospective.

“It reflected some serious disassembling in my personal life, and it’s sort of far-reaching,” Morissette said. “It’s like a breaking or a broken moment captured, and then, I like to think a phoenix rising. It allowed me to hit rock bottom in a way that I’d never done before. I’d always sort of bottom dwelled, but I never really bounced off the bottom.”

After listening to the nostalgic and heartrending “Torch” or the heated “The Guy Who Leaves,” it’s obvious grief is a common theme in “Flavors of Entanglement.” But like all her albums, there’s more than one element. Behind songs like the pinnacle break up track “Not As We” and the hopeful “Incomplete,” there’s a sense that Morissette is not one to dwell on unhappy times. If anything, the album’s theme seems to be overcoming difficult times.

“The best news of all for me was that there is a bottom because I used to think that emotions were bottomless, and if I didn’t calibrate it, that I would be eaten whole,” Morissette said. “So now that I know that when I surrender there’s a bottom and I can bounce back up, I realize the only thing that there is bottomlessness to is joy, so that’s a pretty big revelation for me.”

While many of the record’s songs sound like signature Alanis, “Straitjacket” and “Citizen of the Planet” sound like they belong on a dance floor. Morissette managed to make them work without sounding corny or cliché.

“I’ve always love hybridizing, whether it’s in the kitchen in food or design in my house or music, I love taking all the different genres of music that I love and squishing them into one moment as best as I can without creating a train wreck. Although those are fun, too,” she said.

Morissette’s music has done so much for so many because it fits any mood. Not only do her fans gain healing from her music, but so does Morissette. She has never done anything less than open all of herself.

“I never felt uncomfortable with it, I don’t think. I think the bigger pain for me is the lie of pretending to not be human. When I try to defend myself and present myself as an infallible, invincible, impenetrable human being, that’s when I’m in pain because it’s not true,” Morissette said. “So much of this is about boundaries, too, being able to share my own personal experience, but then also retain some semblance of privacy, whatever that word means.

“But I think most importantly, living my purpose, which is to share what I experience for people to make their own, so that I can comfort or uplift or thought provoke, invite; that’s my life purpose. So to be able to do it through art and use gifts that I have is such a great convergence of all things that are important to me.”

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