Say what you like about Alanis Morissete, most people do have an opinion on the Canadian singer/songwriter, however the music world is better for her being in it, even if it with the odd song or quirky look at life in which inhabits. From Jagged Little Pill to the new album Havoc and Bright Lights, she remains someone eminently listenable to and as desired as well made Sunday dinner, even if you can’t stomach it all because there is too much stuffing served alongside it.
In the four years since her last release, life has changed for Ms. Morisette, she is more comfortable with who she is, content with her own particular world and whilst can still be scathing when the desire takes her such as on the song Woman Down and the bitterness of Celebrity the rest of the album holds up a mirror to her own life. Whilst this brings out a more mellow and distinctive feel to Havoc and Bright Lights, it’s not going to be an album which stirs the anger and causes the blood to boil of a world that has gone very wrong.
The sound that Alanis Morissette creates, her voice and sensuality is still very much in evidence, it will take more than 17 years and 8 albums to ever erase that. In parts her expression is one still possessed by beauty, of an ethereal dream and for fans who have stuck by her since she first broke through, it will still be as is if the spell she cast on them is still there weaving its magic and captivating them. To the first time initiate, they may wonder what the fuss is about.
On the whole Havoc and Bright Lights is likeable, it is a very pleasant album to listen to and that unfortunately might be its downfall, nobody really does pleasant anymore. The world has become entrenched between exciting and fickle, between songs that reach in and pull your guts apart and send shivers down each and every muscle, fibre and being; and the banal and the predictable. When you’re caught between the two worlds, no matter how good the album is, it will struggle.
Ian D. Hall