Morisette matters, so does music

With the opening lines of her fifth and latest studio album, Alanis Morissette has redefined herself once again. Beautiful lyrics journey into the deepest part of her soul. Her words serve as therapy; Morissette expresses her struggle with owning her own emotions, living out her dreams, and the opposite sex. Since her groundbreaking writing and recording sessions with longtime collaborator and friend Glen Ballard, Morissette is recognized as an impenetrable force in female alternative rock.

“So-Called Chaos”, although less aggressive than her earlier albums, is still primarily guitar and drum driven. Morissette is gifted with combining the right mixture of producers, engineers and studio musicians, allowing the record to shape itself. A more grounded and organic collection of music makes “So-Called Chaos” enjoyable, but melodically it loses interest around the second half of the record. Some songs were written in one day, sometimes two in one day and it shows. Although this is not Morissette’s strongest attempt, the songs encompass depth and relevance.

Describing admiration for her current love reflects in the lyrics of “Knees of My Bees”. You are a gift-renaissance with a wink/ With tendencies for conversations that raise bars/ You are a sage who is fueled by compassion comes to nooks and crannies as balm for all scars.

An older Alanis is content and positive moving into a more comfortable time in her life. She is able to reflect with gratitude and grace her experiences of past love and pain. Being able to let go of “This Grudge” is a leap from “You Oughta Know” forgiveness is a virtue that she now boasts. Morisette’s mature clarity in a confusing world is heard more in this record than in her last four.

“Eight Easy Steps,” a song portraying confidence and describing what it’s like to be led by experience, Morissette jabs back at her critics. How to lie to yourself and thereby to everyone else/ How to keep smiling when you’re thinking of killing yourself/ How to numb a la holic to avoid going within/ How to stay stuck in blue by blaming them for everything. Chorus: I’ll teach you all this in eight easy steps/ A course of a lifetime you’ll never forget/ I’ll show you how to in eight easy steps/ I’ll show you what leadership looks like when taught by the best.

In an interview at the beginning of the enhanced portion of the disc, Morissette admits changing and seeing the resultant musical evolution that followed.

“One of the biggest changes over the last year is that there is just so much more balance in my life, and as I get older things become less and less precious and more and more sacred. So during the writing of this record I am a lot more comfortable not only in my own skin but as a producer and as a creator,” Morisette said.