mon 10/08/2020

Album: Alanis Morissette - Such Pretty Forks in the Road | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Alanis Morissette - Such Pretty Forks in the Road

Album: Alanis Morissette - Such Pretty Forks in the Road

Confessional progress in the Nineties megastar's ongoing mission

Alanis Morissette was relieved when fame’s comet swiftly fell to more manageable levels, having crashed into her full-force 25 years ago, when she was just 21. Selling 33 million copies of Jagged Little Pill means, though, that she remains on many people’s minds. With a Diablo Cody-scripted hit musical based on its songs, and vivid female confession no longer an anomaly in the age of Fiona Apple, this eighth album arrives at a receptive moment.

“This is the sound of me hitting bottom...and the anatomy of my crash,” Morissette sings in the opener, “Smiling”, seeming to announce another chapter in her ongoing, familiar story. But, long married with three children, and with a quarter-century’s further spiritual searching and psychiatric digging to draw on, middle-aged Alanis has added mature balance to undimmed emotion.

Her voice signifies this mix of consistency and growth. The Nineties fashion for octave-vaulting histrionics has been subdued. Yet on “Reasons I Drink”, notes still leap and crack, then potently focus in lines admitting addiction’s compensations. During “Diagnosis” she stretches and bites down on words, calibrating her anger at assailants. “Call me what you need,” she offers, “to make yourself comfortable.” It’s a song which embraces her fractures, suggesting psychic wounds can become their own act of healing. Her mood as the album advances over swaying martial beats and Hammond vamps is defiant, amused, forensically self-absorbed or coolly sarcastic, but never down. “As if I haven’t risen like a phoenix from a thousand deaths,” she scoffs on the swaggering “Losing the Plot”. “My mission is not dead yet.”

Such Pretty Forks In The Road’s second half loosens up, from the brittle horror movie chimes and spooked rockabilly of “Reckoning” (about a Weinstein-like predator) to psychedelic memoir “Nemesis”, which broods then races into Eighties clubland, as if nodding to her Canadian pop starlet pre-history.

“Ablaze” takes our troubles back to Eden, in an easy-rolling torrent of lyrics aimed at her four-year-old daughter, whose future is Morissette’s guiding star. “My mission is to keep the light in your eyes ablaze,” she tells her, again using the language of military venture or sacred vocation for her once derided career. This is music by someone comfortable with their discomfort, and apologising for nothing.

Her mood is defiant, amused, forensically self-absorbed or coolly sarcastic, but never down

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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