GALLERY: Alanis picturesThis release contains the original album, a re-recorded acoustic version of the album, and a DVD featuring a documentary about the artist and the album.
The original release reveals its relatively light production value. It's a simple enough approach, which really opened the way for a mass of similar female-fronted rock episodes - some good, others less so. What made Jagged something so special, however, was the songs. Fusing strong hooks and melodies with angst identifiable to women of a broad age-group is what established the base for Alanis' meteoric rise to fame in 1995.
Looking at the radio and chart hits alone, it's basically a greatest hits within itself: "You Oughta Know"; "Hand in Pocket"; "You Learn"; "Head Over Feet"; "Ironic"; etc. etc. etc. It's a near flawless collection of pop rock songs. Near-flawless, but for Alanis' occasional spastic vocal meanderings, and that samey simplistic production approach throughout, which just edges toward the tiresome towards the end.
Not so for the acoustic version, though, recorded for the ten year anniversary (this release). It's a far superior production for whatever reason, and not too far off the original impact, performance-wise. This version also does more to reveal Morissette's vocal ability, which is stripped of the older record's bigger and louder accompaniment. The result is a better mood-setter, and in places it does more for the songs as well. Like Alanis might say, it seems that after ten years "You Learn".
The DVD is a promotional documentary, talking to members of the band, the producer and some celebs about the phenomenon that was Alanis and the album. If you can look past the irritating Nia Vardolos, who gushes all over the subject like a Greek mother of the bride of Frankenstein, it's a friendly companion-piece that finds Morissette more rational about success than any of her peers. Still, why the producers of this piece chose to speak to movie celebrities is a mystery.
Popping the acoustic version CD into your PC brings up a seven-minute doccie - which is actually an abridged version of the full-length DVD - and a link to a website.
But all those are extras. You should be buying this disc if you don't already own one of rock's important milestones. For the rest of you, with the novel acoustic re-making adding rather than detracting from the much-loved original, it's probably about time you renewed your old copy anyway.
- Anton Marshall
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