Flavors Of Entanglement

Alanis Morissette

Warner Brothers, 2008


REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


Paul McCartney once posed the idea that people “would’ve had enough of silly love songs.” But of course, as Macca would go on to claim, that simply wasn’t true. The reason music is going to last until the day the Big Man decides to make a visit is because of love, because of relationships. There are plenty of other things to sing about, but let us be honest; a song about Big Oil will not grab the attention of that thirteen-year-old girl down the street who just broke up with her boyfriend of six hours.

Alanis Morissette has dabbled in pretentiousness now and then in an effort to wrestle with the immense expectations placed on her after the success of 1995’s Jagged Little Pill. After that record sold roughly 1/4th of the national debt, the notion of playing it safe was distasteful to Morissette, which led to the complete 180 with my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (come on now, even Bono would find that title ridiculous.)

Point is, Morissette has always been at her best when talking about relationships, be they successful or failed. Her words just carry a much more genuine meaning when backed up by the events in her life. In the case of Flavors Of Entanglement, Morissette’s breakup with fiancé Ryan Reynolds (of Van Wilder fame) struck a chord and inspired many of the songs on the record.

Moving on, recovery, acceptance -- it is not difficult to find these themes scatted across Flavors. Perhaps surprising to some would be the distinct lack of rage or anger that defined early Alanis. If anything, it would appear Morissette took great pains to avoid coming off as a bitter woman (“Torch,” “In Praise Of The Vulnerable Man”) and genuinely has moved on to a better place. If so, I say kudos to her.

That maturity and growth is reflected a great deal in the music itself. With Flavors Of Entanglement, Morissette made a conscious decision to create music you could, in her words, “dance your face off” to. As a result, there is definite presence of drum loops and programmed beats that marks a unique sound when compared with her previous albums. Songs like “Straitjacket” veer off towards straight up Euro-pop, while “Versions Of Violence” blends electronica with the goth-rock sound of Evanescence.

This is all not to say Morissette doesn’t overreach on occasion. While the opening track “Citizen Of The Planet” fuses world music and metal in a stunning fashion, I’ll be damned if I understand what the woman is trying to say in any real terms. “Moratorium” is weighed down by the awkward phrasing and lyrics, depriving it any real significant statement; the true, heartfelt musings during “Not As We” are more preferable.

It may be unfortunate that for some artists to create, they need strife and sadness in their personal lives, but for the consumer and fan, such situations have resulted in some of the best statements on the human condition. Flavors Of Entanglement may not be a Blue à la Joni Mitchell, but it is a welcome update on Alanis Morissette personally and musically.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2008 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Warner Brothers, and is used for informational purposes only.