Exclusive Review: Alanis Morissette's Bold New 'Flavors'
A few weeks ago I got a call from one of my producers Guy Sigsworth saying that he’d nearly finished the project he, and his colleague Andy Page, have been working on for the majority of 2007 - the brand new Alanis Morissette album ‘Flavors of Entanglement’. Guy asked if I would pop over to his studio to have an album playback and share my thoughts. I was really excited, partly because I didn’t really know what to expect.
When ‘Jagged Little Pill’ came out in 1995 I was 14, and it swiftly became one of the most important albums for me alongside Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’ and Tori Amos’ ‘Little Earthquakes’. I loved their honesty, their melodies and their strength. Skip forward to Autumn 2006 and I was working with Guy on ‘Winter’s Coming’, the closing song for my debut Temposhark album. Alanis had just approached him to see if he’d be interested in collaborating.
One year on, I arrive at Guy’s studio in West London. He reminds me that by now they’ve produced and co-written well over twenty songs! In this one afternoon I hear 22 songs in total, and as each song went by, it was like falling in love with Alanis all over again.
Four highlights for me were ‘Citizen Of The Planet’ which starts off with intriguing lyrics that twist and turn around a captivating melody before hurtling into one of the best choruses of her career - it’s just MASSIVE and her voice cuts right through you... Another gem called ‘Madness’ is spell binding in its beauty, and actually a really long song at over six minutes if I remember correctly, but unusually it didn’t feel long at all! I could’ve listened to that one over and over again...
‘Straitjacket’ is another powerful track that has stuck in my head, with genius lyrics and great melodic hooks... whilst my favourite of all the songs is called ‘Torch’. It’s just the most touching, almost devastating, dedication to the end of a relationship and the things you miss most about your day-to-day life with a partner.
And it was on hearing ‘Torch’, that I remembered why Alanis is such an important voice. She is so good at channelling her subconscious, those true thoughts most people hide. She can take those deeply private emotions and translate them in a simple, easy-to-relate-to way; putting into words what so many of us feel. This new collection of songs takes you on a serious emotional journey, across many highs and lows, and is possibly her best song writing since ‘Jagged Little Pill’ and 'Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie'. It’s just so easy to connect with – the end of a relationship, the value of childhood friends, complicated family ties and all kinds of emotional ‘entanglements’.
Robert's review of Alanis continues after the jump!
Having heard these new songs, the first thing that struck me was Alanis’ voice. It seriously took my breath away. She sounds invigorated and consistently on top form. The diversity of her voice really comes across in what must be some of her best vocal performances recorded. In some songs it just sounds like she’s flying, the vocals are spot on! And the song writing really delivers – the lyrics are fresh and the melodies take a whole new direction.
As you'd expect from Mr Sigsworth, the production and arrangements are so unique, no-one else could make music sound this beautifully compelling. The wall-of-guitars in one track is like nothng I've ever heard. I bet that someone like Metallica or Marilyn Manson will be calling Guy up next to get that exact sound! There’s an epic quality to many of the tracks, making them perfect for film soundtracks - one even sounded a bit like a James Bond '007' theme tune! Any of the 20+ songs that don't end up on the final album tracklisting must find a good home on soundtracks, they're all worthy of maximum exposure.
‘Flavors of Entanglement’ is without a doubt a career highlight. It was almost like a new discovery for me, or a re-discovery, of a voice that had been such a big influence on the teenage me. In the same way that Madonna’s ‘Ray Of Light’ with William Orbit delivered us a new perspective of Madonna, Guy’s and Alanis’ meeting of minds has produced a fresh, classy, gutsy and uplifting masterpiece that will stand the test of time.
‘Flavors Of Entanglement’ will be released in Spring 2008 on Warner. Alanis Morissette will be performing new songs from the album on her USA live tour from January 25th until March 18th 2008 with Match Box 20, for full dates and ticket info, visit www.alanis.com or her MySpace (which is where the photo for this review came from).
Learn more about the music of Guy Sigsworth at his MySpace or entry at Wikipedia. Have a listen to Guy's previous band project Frou Frou. Plus, read a behind the scenes interview with Guy and Andy about 'Flavors' at Arbiter.co.uk
Can't wait to hear the album. Jagged Little Pill was one of my first CDs. Seems so long ago.
Posted by: Cheri at Dec 31, 2007 4:13:27 AM
Hey Rob - Wow, great news. I have always loved Alanis and can't wait to hear her new work. She's one of those artists that you can just fall in love with all over again and again. Raj :)
Posted by: Electroqueer at Dec 31, 2007 4:35:14 AM
There's a mini Alanis interview with more information on her new album at Billboard's website. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003686297
Posted by: at Dec 31, 2007 5:03:05 AM
Thanks for the insider perspective on this one. I've known this was coming for a month or so, and now I'm even more eager to hear the finished product.
Posted by: John at Dec 31, 2007 5:19:58 AM
I kinda lost interest in Alanis after the 2nd album. Maybe cause i wasn't that angsty anymore personally lol But this has aroused my curiousity as I love Guy Sigsworth from Frou Frou and Bjork and I love Temposhark. So look forward to hearing it!Although 'Flavours of entanglement' is a very Alanis title lol
Posted by: crisps1234 at Dec 31, 2007 5:41:34 AM
Amazing blog on Alanis, Rob! And if Guy Sigsworth is involved,it must be a hit!
Posted by: michelle at Dec 31, 2007 5:43:55 AM
what a great review - can't wait for the album
Posted by: Mark at Dec 31, 2007 6:11:30 AM
I have to confess that I haven't been following her career since the late 90's! (High School!!!) I have to get back in the loop and make new memories with her new music! Thanks for the update ^_^XX!
Posted by: Geminikitty at Dec 31, 2007 1:05:30 PM
Wh- what? New Alanis album? Wheee! :D Sounds great.
Posted by: Adam at Dec 31, 2007 5:25:57 PM
How exciting! I so look forward to new alanis. Lucky you!
Posted by: aymarius at Jan 1, 2008 3:06:32 PM
whooa! I´ve waited for a long time this album, Alanis welcome back.
Posted by: Alex at Jan 12, 2008 8:51:30 PM
I just heard Citizen of the Planet in concert, and it is awesome... on youtube if u search for it!
Posted by: Citizen of the Planet at Jan 30, 2008 7:56:22 PM
the video for the first single, "Underneath" has now been posted on youtube.
Posted by: Ryan at Feb 12, 2008 9:20:42 PM
can't wait to hear it. andy page is a genius producer.
Posted by: happy at Feb 25, 2008 4:15:34 PM
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Posted by: show nflbdqm at Apr 17, 2008 3:23:54 AM
and the day has come!
thanks for great review
Posted by: gaagga at Apr 18, 2008 11:56:54 PM
HER NEW ALBUM ROCKS!! ITS LEAKED AND CLIP ON YOUTUBE...BEST SONGS EVER...VERSION OF VIOLENCE...LOVE THAT SONG..GO ALANIS
Posted by: MEEE at May 25, 2008 11:13:16 AM
I just listened to this record. It's awful. It's the same old tired schtick, self-absorbed whininess that has completely lost its flavor. Remember the review for Shark Sandwich on the Spinal Tap movie?
Posted by: Mark John at May 27, 2008 3:19:04 PM
You referred to a "wall of guiars" sound in one of her songs: which one? I have the delux 2008 releases, 17 tracks in all, and am wondering to which song you're referring.
Posted by: Peanuts at Jun 11, 2008 11:58:18 AM
utter crap regurgitated fecal matter falling out of her horse mouth.
Posted by: james at Jun 23, 2008 2:02:38 AM
Overall, I thought this was a very good album. I was hoping for a sound more like Alanis's "Jagged Little Pill" days (I STILL listen to those songs over and over) but this was much different. Different isn't always a bad thing and this album definitely demonstrated that. I felt it was a very emotional, heartfelt album. If you weren't familiar with Alanis Morissette before, you can kind of get a feel for some of her personal conflicts & emotions here. I felt that she really expressed herself well and compiled a very good album! Alanis rocks! :)
Posted by: SteelersFan at Jun 29, 2008 4:53:30 PM
sounds like various styles just in one. This is a really good work, Alanis is one of the greatest voices that we can hear today.
Like your review, useful
Saludos a todos los latinos del mundo!!!!
:) :D :p
Posted by: Claudio at Jul 20, 2008 3:19:14 PM
Hey Rob, this is a great news for me.Really impressive site. I'm a big fan of Alains Morissette's. now she release a new Album .....Awesome Sounds great...really!!!
I really enjoyed her Music. I hope you can continue the service without any loss in the very near
future.Keep It Up!!!!
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