“If growing up is the process of creating ideas and dreams about what life should be, then maturity is letting go again.” – Mary Beth Danielson
This quote really resonates with me when thinking of Alanis Morissette’s new cd Flavors of Entanglement.
In the mid-1990’s, Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. She was a force to be reckoned with, an angry angsty voice that was going to tell it like it was with no apologies.
Well, Alanis is back with what I feel is her best cd since then and she’s still unafraid to put her heart out there on the sidewalk. Only, this time, I feel we are seeing a more mature artist, an artist who has let go of a lot of her pain and one with a lot more self-realization.
All this, and it has a beat you can dance to.
Producer Guy Sigsworth has done a great job of balancing Alanis’ brilliant poetry with an edgy rock dance vibe.
“Citizen of the Planet” which opens the cd rocks. I love the way the song accelerates and appreciate the drivng beat incorporating sitars and tablas giving the song an eastern feel.
“Underneath”, the first single from the cd, immediately takes me to a quieter place. This song is about changing yourself to eventually help change the world.
“Straitjacket” has a jagged feel for me and the techno background seems to accentuate the craziness we feel when someone we care about seems to be doing things just to drive us mad.
“Versions of Violence” has a bit of a sensual rock feel. I love the textures of the music and Alanis’ voice has never sounded better.
“Not as We” is one of my favorites. It talks about starting all over again “as I and not as we”, “gunshy and quivering”. I love the piano here. This song is elegant in its beauty and simplicity and reminds me of Enya.
Sometimes we are strongest in our vulnerability.
“In Praise of the Vulnerable Man” is simply that, a song celebrating the sexiness of a man who doesn’t need all that armor.
“Moratorium” – Alanis actually took a break from relationships to breathe and get her focus back. That is what this song explores. It’s a way to let go, stop looking outside, stop searching, and re-find yourself, a “breather from the flavors of entanglement”.
“Torch” gives me chills. Alanis is so relatable in her description of missing someone.
“I miss your smell, and your style and your pure abiding way.” The guitar and strings are lovely and simply fit the poignancy of someone who says she “never dreamed I would have to lay down my torch for you.” The list of all the little and big things we miss when we lose an important relationship is so evocative and so authentic. This is another of my favorites.
“Giggling again for no reason” is a fun light dance tune.
“Tapes” is all about the stories other people tell us and the voices we hear inside that aren’t our own beliefs. It’s actually liberating to realize these are untrue.
I really like the song “Incomplete”. I love its hopeful melody. It ends the cd on an uplifting note. It speaks of all the dreams we have of being complete, being healed, being enlightened. Still, at the same time, it expresses what I feel is the message of the cd. “I have been running so sweaty my whole life urgent for a finish line/I have been missing the rapture this whole time of being forever incomplete.” The joy is in the imperfection, in the journey.
At a time when digital track purchases are so common, it is rare for me to find a cd that I love completely but Alanis’ new cd is just that. It is
a solid collection — rocking, edgy, authentic, flavorful.
Alanis has gone through the seriousness of youth and she seems so much more at peace. Flavors of Entanglement explores where Alanis has been and where she is now. There is introspection, reflection, sadness and joy and the cd ultimately soars.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it.