Alanis Morissette - So-called Chaos - Alanis Morissette - So-called Chaos

2006-03-29 19:03

It's said she's in love. And some feel that happiness has spoiled her music. They say she's not the Alanis we once knew.

That's not fair. Whether you like her, or find her highly annoying, Alanis is a prolific and original pop and rock musician and songwriter. She's quite capable of making a personal crisis of not having a personal crisis. Showing admirable professionalism, she worries about being happy just as much as she did about being sad, facing her fears on almost every song.

My tendency to want to run feels unnatural now, she frets, in typically wordy Alanis style. But don't worry. Like anyone who falls hopelessly in love, she's worried that she shouldn't be falling. She alternately celebrates the crushy adoring joy of being madly stricken and explores the dark side of relationships - particularly the potential for abuse - with a reliably obsessive blend of pop psyche and her trademark sarcasm. On "Spineless": I'll be subservient and spineless / I'll lick your boots as empty shell, she paints a picture of how what began as love can one day empty you of all it gave you and more. And on "Doth I protest too much" (what a cringe-inducing title!) her denial of jealousy is an amusing admission of human weakness.

Finally, she brings hope and doubt together with the adolescent poetry of the last, "Everything" (the single on the album), where she accepts being loved, for who she is, without any irony at all. You see everything you see every part / you see all my light and you love all my dark.

Alanis sticks with clever yet melodic, catchy rock that'll have stadiums of fans waving their hands in the air and singing along - praise that the first track, a classic mockery of chick-mag pop psyche called "8 Easy Steps", richly deserves. And as always, Alanis showcases her superb knack for expressive, funny and accessible musical variation within songs. Her voice is like a pair of wry raised eyebrows in the verses and an angry rock scream in the chorus: I'll teach you all this, in eight easy steps.

So-called Chaos is generously packaged - you'll get a whole bunch of extras like video clips and full lyrics with the original CD. And her sleeve note dedication to her new lover Ryan is actually quite touching.

- Jean Barker


So Called Chaos definitely improves with repeated listens - Eight Easy Steps rocks along easily (ho,ho) and the single Everything is solid if unspectacular. The real winner is Spineless...
- Lileth Burgetta for

Now in a happy relationship, she has become prone to improbable spasms of humour that will unsettle fans who have been with her since 1995's angst-loaded Jagged Little Pill.
- Caroline Sullivan for The Guardian

Some say Alanis has lost the dissatisfied edge that made her famous with Jagged Little Pill. Famous for whining, you'd say, unless you were one of her millions of fans who felt that she expressed their dilemmas and frustrations. Now she has less to complain about. But don't worry. That doesn't stop her doing her job.

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