Alanis Morissette: Havoc and Bright Lights
In the pantheon of angry 90s women, not many spit the vitriol of Alanis Morissette. Jagged Little Pill became the soundtrack to an entire generation of jilted lovers with a strong sense of irony. But the album proved to be a drop in the bucket with every subsequent album selling fewer than the album before. That is how we arrive at Morissette’s eight studio album, Havoc and Bright Lights.
Nothing about the album says that this trend is turning around. The opening track and lead single “Guardian” is undoubtedly the highlight of the album. It’s passive/aggressive dynamic waffles between wall-of-guitar chorus and piano ballad verse but all the rawness of early Morissette has been replaced by over-production and fairly bland lyrics. Morissette has said of the song that it is about the protectiveness she feels for her own children and all those she loves. A far cry from the songs of jilted lovers of the past.
While I understand that people grow and I am happy Morissette has found peace there is something very boring about an artist with nothing to write about. When Morissette attempts to manifest something to write about, her anger comes off forced. “Celebrity” is the adult contemporary version of Lady Gaga‘s “Paparazzi.” The track features slick electro-pop production and Morissette singing some of the worst lyrics of the album. She sings couplets like “I have never left this ambitious city/and I’ve only known a lust for VIP” and “Never wonder who’s pulling strings above me/Cause I’m aware of wheels, heels, and vintage Gucci.” It is like she is defying you to try to listen and not cringe.
Although not every track on Havoc and Bright Lights will have you cringing, not many will have you cheering either. The album is populated by some of the blandest songs of the songwriter’s career. Perhaps it is no wonder it is slated to be her lowest selling since her 1994 benchmark album.
MP3: Alanis Morissette “Guardian”