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2008 saw Alanis Morissette release her seventh studio album 'Flavors Of Entanglement. For this album she teams up with Guy Sigsworth to produce this album. This is the follow-up to the 2004 album 'So Called Chaos' and a natural progression to her artistic ability. The album mixes a wide range of sounds with pop, rock, ballads all included on the album.
Track By Track:
'Citizen Of The Planet' - The opening track and starts out with a very 'Eastern' feeling to it. It then builds up to a light rocky Chorus. It has a very hippy-ish feel to it. It's a great song, however it does feel like it is missing something to make it stand out. Not a bad opener 8/10.
'Underneath' - The lead single from the album. This is probably one of Alanis's most poppier songs. It's got a fresh sound to it that when you hear it for the first time you want to be able to sing it back. The chorus to this song is fantasti although it's a shame the song didn't perform that well in the charts. Maybe if she had chosen a different lead single then the album might have sold more. 9/10.
'StraightJacket' - "I don't know who you're talking to with such f*****g disrespect" sings Alanis. I love this. Such a standout track. Alanis has got her anger back and I like it! Alanis is pissed off and when she's pissed off she makes such amazing tracks. 10/10.
'Versions Of Violence' - Alanis is still angry. This is a very different turn now. It sounds like an Evanesence track. The verses are dark and dramatic and then it bursts into this big chorus with a great beat. 9/10.
'Not As We' - The first Ballad on the album. It's a piano weepy kind of song. Alanis is basically coming to the end of her relationship with a guy and this is 'Day 1' on her own and accepting the fact the relationship is over. This served as a single in America but I don't think the UK got it. I like it, it's simple yet the lyrics really touch you. 10/10.
'In Praise Of The Vulnerable Man' - I do love Alanis and her song titles. This was the second single in the UK and a very odd choice as most of the other songs on the album 'stand out' so much more than this song. Don't get me wrong, this is another great track, but it's not something they would play on the radio. Alanis is basically praising the guy who she split up with on the last song. It's too Middle of the Road for my liking. 7/10.
'Moratorium' - This is another dark(ish) haunting song. Alanis is declaring a moratorium on all things relationship. The title of the album is featured in this song too! I like this, it's a good album track and this kind of song really got me back interested in Alanis on this record after her previous years as a happy and in love woman. 8/10.
'Torch' - Alanis is reflecting on her last relationship and accepting that she has to lay down the torch for the guy. It's a bit of a dreary song. It's a song I tend to skip on the album as its just a list of what Alanis is missing from this guy. 7/10.
'Giggling Again For No Reason' - This is very dancy. Would have been a great single on the album and possibly gotten Alanis back in the Top 10. One of the standouts on the album. 10/10.
'Tapes' - Another dreary song. Possibly my least favourite on the record. I don't even have an opinion on it as I rarely listen to the song. 5/10.
'Incomplete' - We're at the end of the album. This is a great closing track. A very hopeful song and a nice upbeat track. 10/10.
There is also a special deluxe verson of the album featuring 5 other songs. I would reccomend this as these 5 tracs are just as good if not better than some of the songs on the album. Orchid and Limbo No More are fantastic and check out 'On The Tequila', you'll either love or hate this track!
Flavours of Entanglement is Alanis Morisette's eighth album, released internationally on JUne 2, 2008. It is available on Amazon for only £6.88, and features 11 tracks, which is not bad value for money.
I have to say that, after being initially drawn in by the wonderful cover art, I was somewhat disappointed by this latest Alanis offering. Although none of her later albums have quite managed to rise to the heights acheived by 'Jagged Little Pill', 'Flavours of Entanglement' is the next-to-poorest follow-up yet, worsted only by 'So Called Chaos'. Having said this, it does have three gems which for me made it worth the disappointment of the rest of the album.
My main gripe with this album is that it has succumned to the main-stream in all but the lyrics. 'Straightjacket' in particular, struck me as being little more than techno-pop - a severe let-down for those of us who like Alanis for her jagged edges and 'Indie' sound. 'Giggling Again for No Reason', 'Incomplete', 'Tapes', 'Torch' and 'Underneath' all reminded me heavily of a number of very similiar and equally non-descript tracks from 'So Called Chaos'. While they feature the brilliant lyrics which make Alanis as much a poet as a musician, they lose impact through melodies which frankly fail to inspire or even invoke.
The album is redeemed, however, by three tracks: 'Citizen of the Planet', 'Versions of Violence', and 'Not as We'. The first has a wonderfully edgy, ethnic sound, laced with Eastern strings, and lyrics that prove Alanis can still address contemporary issues with style. 'Versions of Violence', while also edging on techno-pop, uses its heavy bass and drums to excellent and ironic effect, making this an explosive and hard-hitting track. 'Not as We', by contrast, shows Alanis at her best as a vocalist. Acompanied only by piano, it sets of her fantastic vocal range in a moving melody about surviving after the end of a relationship, with beautiful lyrics and a haunting tune.
So, while this album is nowhere near as brilliant as 'Jagged Little Pill', or even the next best, 'Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie', it nevertheless is worth the low selling price (or perhaps just mp3 download?) for the three original tracks it does feature.
Flavors of Entanglement is the latest instalment from the fantastic Alanis Morissette. Since the staggering success of Jagged Little Pill in 1995 Alanis has continued to create album after album of pure bliss. With a gap of 4 years since her last studio album - So Called Chaos - it was an eagerly awaited purchase.
The version I am reviewing is the deluxe editon with bonus cd. It cost me £14.99 from HMV which is more than I would normally be happy to pay but I had a £10 voucher to spend. The main album has eleven tracks, the bonus disc another five.
~ Main CD tracks ~
~ Citizen of the Planet ~
Opens the album. The verses are slightly reminiscent of Placebos sound. The chorus then kicks in with a powerful guitar underlining it.
~ Underneath ~
The first track to be released as a single is a much softer song. It is fairly catchy in the chorus and has a nice upbeat riff running through which then continues into the bridge.
~ Straitjacket ~
One of my particular favourites on the album. The only song on the CD with any colourful language. It features the f word is full of the angst that Alanis does best. The lyrics describing mental torture in a relationship. Its abrupt end suits it well.
~ Versions of Violence ~
The vocals on this track are at the lower end of Alanis's range. It has an almost haunting sound to the verses with a more prominent chorus. This track describes the different types of violence other than physical. This is another track that finishes abruptly.
~ Not as we ~
The second single is a simple ballad. Alanis is accompanied by the piano as she comes to terms with having to start again , but no longer as a part of a couple. The purity in her voice really shows in the vocals here.
"from scratch begin again, but this time I as I and not as we"
~ In praise of the vulnerable man ~
The most reminiscent of tracks on the album to her previous album Under Rug Swept. This moves along at a catchy speed, with its gentle chorus and almost sickly lyrics!
~ Moratorium ~
I had to look this word up having absolutely no idea of its meaning. Apparently it means, and I quote "A suspension of an activity". The activity in question being relationships and romance. As with all Alanis's previous albums a track features the title somewhere on the album. This is the track in this case. This is also the longest track on the main cd and is a little on the gloomy side. Don't listen to this in a low mood it will make you feel worse!
~ Torch ~
Is almost a ballad. Its simple guitar accompanies the softer sing song vocals.
"I never dreamed that I would have to lay down my torch for you like this"
laments things to miss after a relationship has ended.
~ Giggling again for no reason ~
The most different sounding vocals that I have heard from Alanis. Singing the chorus particularly in a soft head voice it contains little of her familiar sounding vocals.
~ Tapes ~
Another slow track to start with building to a chorus again sounding almost like Placebo.
~ Incomplete ~
One of Alanis's favourite subjects lyrically seems to be this one. Looking for something thats missing. Has she finally accepted that she will always feel like this? The verses feature gentle picking on the guitar, the chorus is backed by a loop. This track is the perfect end to the CD.
~ The Bonus CD ~
~ Orchid ~
Another song featuring acoustic guitar in the verses. This is a mellow, feel good track.
~ The Guy Who Leaves ~
Features Alanis's head voice in the prechorus, a funky beat and melodious vocals and catchy layered chorus.
~ Madness ~
Piano backs the vocals again here. A slow gentle track. This is over six minutes long and doesn't really go anywhere. A reason it is only on the bonus disc presumably. Not a bad song, just a little lacking compared to other tracks.
~ Limbo No More ~
Again a slow long track. This does have a catchy melody running through and the chorus is a little more upbeat than the previous track.
~ On The Tequila ~
I actually found this bizarre on my first listen. Its almost Alanis does Janet Jackson. Its all about a night out on the town with the girls and obviously the tequila. It is so unlike Alanis Morissette that its hard to take seriously and maybe thats exactly the point.
~ Summary ~
Alanis has collaborated with Britsh producer Guy Sigsworth for this album. Sigsworth who has produced for Imogen Heap and Bjork specialises in Electronica and as well as producing also co wrote the music for the album. There are no tracks that I dislike, I just think some are stronger than others. The bonus CD is worth having just for the collection but if you are not a big Alanis fan then the cheaper main CD version would be as good a bet.
Although Alanis has a very distinctive vocal sound, she continues to experiment with different music sounds and styles with this album. It ranges from the catchy upbeat to the very slow ballad to the heavy guitared rock track. She displays a huge range of emotion in her vocals and in her lyrics. I am always amazed by the intelligence in the words she writes. Something I particularly like is how she adapts words to fit with her track, breaking them in half or pronouncing them differently to work better.
I for one enjoyed this from the first listen but as a bit of an Alanis freak Im a bit biased I guess.
----The Pre-Review Rant----
My day has been a pile of crap, rolled round in crap, wrapped round a crappy stick, dipped in liquid crap with crap sprinkles. Firstly I had to get up at 9. "Stop being a wuss!" I hear all of you say. Well, screw you. I work late shifts. I have just contracted a lovely cold from a girl in work who is adamant she will work through even the black death and I have ANOTHER ulcer on the side of my tongue so speaking is quite painful.
I had decided to wear some very flattering clothes since I knew I'd be up early and would be feeling like poo for it. I run off into town to pick up a parcel and cash a cheque. Upon handing the cheque to the teller she looks at me as if I have fifteen heads and a rotating light show on three of them. Why? Because the idiot who wrote the cheque managed to write a different amount in words than was in the box containing the numbers. That and her 7's were too funny for the machine to recognise. And not in the "HA HA" kind of way.
So, I'm now £57 short and walking along the high street trying to call my friend to chastise her clearly lacking mental skills. This day being great, she doesn't pick up so I leave a message and go to pick my parcel up. That went smoothly. Joy. I came home and decided I should really eat something or I'd be starving at work, so I pop some toast under the grill.
About 12 minutes later I smell smoke. CRAP!! My toast was cremated. It was so burnt it had managed to weld itself to the grill. Frantically, I opened every window in my house, not really in the mood to hear my incredibly lazy fire alarm that beeps twice then decides it can't be bothered to save your life. My very flattering clothes now stink of smoke. I gave up on life at that point and decided to salvage the remaining half hour I had before I left for work by having a much needed nap. 10 minutes into said nap, my idiotic friend called me in a panic. Apparently she feels just awful about screwing the cheque up and I now need to wait two weeks because she's in some remote village in the highlands, screwing the brains out of her girlfriend. Joy for her. Even though I told her I was in bed, this conversation went on for the remaining 20 minutes of my nap.
Smokey, and utterly effed off, I left the house and it starts raining. Even better. Eventually lunch time comes and I remember I have a package to open. Could this day get much worse? It was the CD I've been waiting on! YAY! It was only a week late. But wait... I paid extra money for a signed copy. Where the hell is the signature?!?! By this point I want to cry. I'm tired, smokey, effed off and signature less and I have to go back to work and talk to idiots the rest of the evening.
Only just surviving the day, I come home and realise I have no food. I have plenty of ingredients, but no combination of them will make real food. Upon talking to my ex, he has informed me that I have to meet him 3 hours earlier than I had thought I did tomorrow which means no sleep. I also get to meet his family for the first time. Which is scaring the fark out of me. I have once again given up on life. I have taken the phone off the proverbial hook (we all know everyone is wireless now) I have my comfort clothes on (those baggy wrinkled things you don't want anyone to see.) The kettle is on and the reserve bars of chocolate are out and are being alternated with Bonjela. The CD I have been so eagerly awaiting is playing away and calming me down (small bits). So now, In my second (and possibly last) music review, I shall dance over the finer details with you.
Alanis Morissette, also known as God (see Dogma) hasn't brought out an album in about 3 years, her last one being a greatest hits (which was, as the name suggests, great) Since then she's being focusing on her personal life, getting engaged, getting un-engaged and then getting back to the music. Flavours Of Entanglement hit our shelves on June 2nd this year (8 days before the 'Merkins, which always makes me happy), or, if you are the crappy distribution company that sent me my copy, June 17th. Morissette worked closely with Guy Sigsworth who's also been known to help out other fabby women such as Imogen heap and some not so fabby women, like Britney.
The album art is similar to the Acoustic Jagged Little Pill album she brought out for her 10 year anniversary, so it fits perfectly with my collection. The deluxe Edition I shelled out for set me back about £15, but the normal version should hit your pocket somewhere around the £10 mark. And now for the music!
---1: CITIZEN OF THE PLANET - 4:22---
"So I pack my things, nothing precious, all things sacred"
Starting with a beat quite similar to "so called chaos" (another song of hers, from the album of the same name) had me worried. For a start, I didn't like that song. It's all good though. This atmospheric little ditty, filled with some brilliant electric guitars and a spattering of violins is almost orchestral at times, all the while rocking its socks off. The song, as far as I can see, is born from being an incredibly well travelled artist, taking in the world as she goes and learning for it. If that sounds too intellectual, don't worry. It's damn catchy too. Great start to the CD!
---2- Underneath - 4:07---
"Look at us form our cliques in our sandbox"
The first single from the album, Underneath has a great beat behind it and yet is incredibly calm and full of thoughtful observation. It's one of those songs that lies somewhere between happy and sad, touching the edges of both. Also, not that it's on the CD, but the acoustic version is absolutely beautiful.
---3- Straitjacket- 3:08---
"I don't know who you're talking to with such f**king disrespect"
Whip out your dirtiest, roughest beat, mix in some blatantly pointed anger, serve in an Electro-Pop dish and sprinkle with a little bit of rock. I was not sure what to make of this song to start with. It is a very strange mix of Intellectuality and something that sounds like The Black Eyed Peas next big hit. "This shit's making me crazy" right next to "the way you nullify what's in my head" confuses my brain. The anger right next to the great dance beat sounds very odd when you listen. Maybe I'm just uncultured, but I've never heard anything dance-y being smart all at the same time. The song has grown on me, even though I still find it a very odd mix.
---4- Versions of violence- 3:36---
"...judging, opining and meddling. These versions of Violence..."
Continuing with the anger and rough beats, but throwing in a much more rocky edge on this song. You can feel the rage slowly building from the moment this one begins 'till the chorus explodes with a great guitar howling away in the background. I don't even dare to assume what Morissette was thinking when she wrote this, but I'm going to assume she had a day not unlike mine. Another big thumbs up.
---5- Not As We- 4:45---
"day one, day one, start over again"
Slowing the mood right down, Alanis and a piano lovingly warble their way through this gorgeously shy song, oozing with insecurity and unfolding into a discreet confidence. Wow I can't half blether some tosh sometimes. Basically, it's a very pretty song.
---6- In praise of the vulnerable man- 4:07---
"Why won't you lead the rest of your cavalry home?"
Here we have a very gentle, happy song. None of the harsh beats or anger, no sadness, just a genuinely thankful song for all those men who aren't complete knob jockeys. After having the album a whole day, this is the one I'm singing to myself when I nip to the loo, or to Tesco for potatoes (which I done between reviewing track 4 and track 5) A very catchy tune that's not too heavy on words to digest.
---7- Moratorium- 5:35---
"I declare a moratorium on things relationship"
There is something about this song that I don't like. I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's the really strange tempo of the song, a very fast beat but some very slow lyrics. The song appears to be Morissette putting her foot down with relationships, screaming "No more, thank you! I've had enough" but in a very wordy way. It's not an awful song, but its not the best on the album, made worse by it's positioning between two rather Pro-Love songs.
---8- Torch- 4:50---
"I never dreamed I would have to lay down my torch for you like this"
Back to the good music we go with this breathtakingly beautiful ballad. Starting with a piano and Alanis singing softly, complimented by strings and moving into a very strong chorus, this song is just amazing. A song about moving past heartbreak, it still has a very uplifting tone to it, despite its clearly devastating content. If I had anything similar to thumbs that weren't offensive in the same position, they would be up, waving lighters around and throwing pants. Simply stunning.
---9- Giggling Again For No Reason- 3:48---
"Oh this state of ecstasy nothing but road could ever give to me"
It may come as no surprise to you that the mood is again lifted by this track which seems to have to story behind it other than just being happy. Very fitting of the title. It's got a nice beat behind it but it's still quite a mellow song. Incredibly laid back and smiley, this track will have to singing away to yourself with a grin on your face. And if that's not good enough, it has the potential to be a great floor filler if someone out there so wishes to pump the beat up a little. Yes, I always love a song that has dance floor potential!
---10- Tapes- 4:26---
" "I am someone easy to leave" "Even easier to forget" A voice, if inaccurate"
Written about that little voice inside we all have, well, apart from you uber-confident show off types, this song brings the mood down again for a four minute medley of guitar and vocal echo's that remind us of Morissette's earlier work . I quite like this song, but there are some better songs on the album.
---11- Incomplete - 3:30---
"I have been missing the rapture this whole time , of being forever incomplete"
This song essentially talks about where Morissette wants to be in her future years. Rather fittingly, it sounds very child like and innocent at times, adding to the idea that she is still in her youth, muddling through. Which she very much is I suppose. As much as it's a song about not being where you want to be, it has less of a "God I'm so depressed I'm not there yet" tone about it and much more a tone of "You know, I know I'm not there yet, but I will be one day. So I'm cool with that". I'd like to see this be one of the singles from this album as it's very uplifting, sweet and cheerful.
---The End....or is it?---
Depending on how much you like our dear Alanis, you can choose to get more music for your money by getting the extended version of this album. Me being a Morissette freak, went head first for that option. You may not be able to find it in the shops, but no doubt, E-bay will be brimming with this edition that comes with some lovely Art cards with "handwritten" lyrics on the back of them. If you do so choose to get this album, you get an extra CD with five more songs to keep you in music.
---1- Orchid- 4:21---
"I'm a sweet piece of work, well intentioned yet disturbed"
The first of the extras is all about flowers. Well not really, but there be some flowers used as metaphors and I suppose one might only be able to understand fully if they were a horticulturist. The part of the song that's not all flowery is a story about Morissette's love life, being loved, being ditched and having friends who will beat the crap out of anyone who isn't good enough. We all have em eh? More thumbs in the air.
---2- The Guy Who Leaves- 4:13---
"You'll keep being compelled to flee"
Alanis ditches her smoother, mellow voice and goes for the worried, pain filled voice on this one to devastating effect. As you may have guessed, we have a song all about men being men again. Very good, very angry and very brilliant with an ace beat behind it to boot.
---3- Madness- 6:22---
"Now I see the madness in me is brought out in the presence of you"
We are all a little bit nuts. We are all even more nuts when we are around someone we love. This song recognises that madness in us all. Another mellow track, great for relaxing to and again its neither happy or sad, but it's still incredibly catchy.
---4- Limbo No More- 5:21---
"No where's been home, and I'm ready to be limbo no more"
A beautiful, atmospheric look at life and everything in it, sorting through what is stable and unchanging and what is just filler. Yet another brilliant piece, continuing the feeling of moving on with life and the personal growth Morissette has experienced. Alternatively, it's some words thrown at a page that sound rather great when sung by Alanis. Not being her, I can't say for certain! I'd like to think it was the former even if the latter still applies.
---5- On The Tequila- 3:35---
"She can hoist a really good kick in the butt when she's excited"
This one makes me smile a lot. Essentially a description of a night out with her friends with a slight hint of a drunk person blabbing on and a suitably zoned out, very catchy singing style for the chorus. A song about good times with booze and friends can never go wrong. Hell, screw the friends, I can live with just the booze! A perfect way to end anything really.
Pretty much! This album is another step forward for Morissette who is constantly showing a very clear progression in her style, influenced by everything and everyone she meets. Well, maybe not EVERYONE. She's yet to write a song about a checkout girl at Asda, for example. The only downside to this album is that Morissette can, at times, be quite self indulgent with her songs. It doesn't take anything away from this brilliant artists who is never afraid to try something new. Get IN there Alanis.
Yes, I know, I got way too into that. Oh well.
(Review on ciao)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Citizens Of The Planet
4 Versions of Violence
5 Not As We
6 In Priase of the Vulnerable Man
9 Giggling Again For No Reason