Music Oh. Um. Pfff. Here we are at album four (barring live albums and offcuts) in the Alanis Morissette odyssey. In the liner notes to So Called Chaos she thanks "The people who come to my shows and listen to my music with such open hearts - thank you for seeing in yourself what you see in me." Well thanks to you for the thought but somewhere along the line I stopped seeing myself in your songs. The universality you brought to such personal themes in Jagged Little Pill became something which is simply personal. I feel as though you're saying things and I want to care but without some kind of context, something you've never felt the need to rely on before, I'm lost. Considering that in interviewers you've been promoting this as having a lighter tone than previous albums because you're in a happy relationship, in places the piece actually feels a bit sinister. Whether intentionally the empowerment of previous records has been submerged. At time the lyrics are just painful or confused. More than ever I feel like your therapist. Do you have one?

Where are we musically? For all the soul searching this is certainly the poppiest of the four (even more than Under Rug Swept). It's co-produced by John Shanks who has in the past worked with Melissa Etheridge and Stevie Nicks and more recently Celine Dion (?), Sheryl Crow and Michelle Branch. Obviously its not clear how much of his sensibility was brought to the material but in places it feels (and god I hate typing this) repetitive and bland. For example, the portentiously titled Doth I Protest Too Much seems to last forever and in fact its only four minutes long. Sonically, in terms of the sounds being used the variety we've come to expect is available. But too many times you feel as though you've heard certain tracks before -- its a construction issue -- as though though each ends in the same way.

I really hadn't expected to write this negative review. But too many things irritate and I'm being harsh because I've come expect so much. The princess of the literate lyric goes even further here. The Grudge begins with '14 years 30 minutes 15 seconds I've held this grudge / 11 songs 4 full journals thoughts of punishment I've expended' which is fine and interesting but hardly the stuff of lighters aloft in a stadium. In Out Is Through she works the five syllable nightmare 'understandable' in and what's only one beat under 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' Six of the ten songs are lists. That's not funny. But I think my biggest problem is that most of them sounds absolutely fine in isolation. I raved Everything on its release as a single. Out Is Through will be the next one and might do quite well (good chorus). But overall I feel like I'm being harassed by an actress shouted random passages of Elizabethan verse with a pub band warming up in the background. Oh. Um. Pfff. Then again, parts of Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie grew on me eventually, so anything is possible.

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