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Music Review

Alanis Morissette: 'Havoc and Bright Lights' - Album review

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Released on Monday, Aug 27 2012

Alanis Morissette: 'Havoc and Bright Lights'
Perverse as it sounds, there are plenty of people out there who would prefer Alanis Morissette to be unhappy. Worse is that most of these people are her hardened fans; the ones who rocked out with the angsty young woman on 1995's seminal Jagged Little Pill and later sobbed along to 2008's Flavours of Entanglement, a record devoted to her split with then-fiancé Ryan Reynolds.

Some will therefore be weary of its follow-up Havoc and Bright Lights, which sees Alanis in her most joyous and, at times, carefree headspace yet. "I'll be your keeper for life" she announces on trailer single 'Guardian', a light and airy ode to the husband and son she's accumulated in the last four years and told with a Cheshire Cat-like grin that's almost audible by the final chorus.

But she hasn't entirely lost her bite. The twisted, voodoo beats of 'Celebrity' courtesy of alt-pop producer Joe Chiccarelli and longtime collaborator Guy Sigsworth is a scathing attack on the expectation placed on society's overnight stars, while 'Woman Down' is a call to arms for mums and wives everywhere to fight against life as a Stepford. But far from her old stick-beating methods of persuasion, she now sounds like someone unfazed by who's listening, if anyone at all.

Havoc is easily one of her slicker and more polished efforts, though the effect isn't always for the better. 'Til You' and 'Empathy' sound too clean and would benefit from earthier production, though fortunately there are plenty of gems to be found in between. 'Havoc' is Alanis in classic ballad mode, and the hypnotic chorus on 'Edge of Evolution' is a successful attempt at experimenting. The result won't be the record everyone was hoping for, but it's one that feels right for right now.



Tracks to download: 'Guardian', 'Woman Down', 'Edge of Evolution', 'Havoc'
If you like this, you'll like: Sheryl Crow, Fiona Apple, Kelly Clarkson

Watch the 'Guardian' music video below:

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