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Alanis Morissette: The Collection

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Album Review

Alanis Morissette had hits after her 1995 blockbuster Jagged Little Pill — she also hits before it, but those Canadian teen pop hits have been effectively written out of her official biography to no great loss — but after that album's nearly three-year reign on the charts in the second half of the '90s, she never dominated radio, MTV, and popular consciousness again. She was always a presence, and each of her records received a flurry of attention upon its initial release, with both 1998's Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie and 2002's Under Rug Swept both debuting at number one on the Billboard charts, but once it became clear to her millions of fans that she was pursuing a weirder, introspective direction in the wake of Jagged Little Pill, they started to slowly drift away and Alanis' status faded with it. She still made good music (even if the albums themselves could be uneven), but she stopped having genuine pop hits. Of course, she kind of stopped making pop music, as the sober nature of her first hits album, 2005's The Collection, proves. This generous 18-track collection has the great majority of her charting singles and it's understandably heavy on Jagged Little Pill songs; there are five here, including "Hand in My Pocket," "Ironic," and "You Oughta Know," but not the radio hit "All I Really Want." Most of the remaining big hits are here, including the non-LP "Uninvited" from the City of Angels soundtrack, "Thank U" (here retitled "Thank You"), and "Hands Clean," but there are several charting singles from Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie that were overlooked ("Joining You," "Unsent," and, most regrettably, "So Pure," the liveliest song on the LP), which suggests that Alanis now also sees that album as an awkward growing period between the angst-ridden adolescent of JPL and her self-consciously mature work of the 2000s. In their place are a hodgepodge of non-LP rarities, largely soundtrack contributions, including "Still" from Dogma and a very bad version of Cole Porter's "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)" from De-Lovely; there's also "Sister Blister" from her overlooked 2002 rarities CD/DVD Feast on Scraps, plus a new cover of Seal's "Crazy" that's startlingly close to the original. All these relative rarities dilute The Collection, making it seem something less than either the hits or the best of Alanis Morissette; it doesn't help that they're clustered together in the second part of the compilation, slowing the momentum of the hit-heavy first half quite a bit. Also, the overall tenor of these songs, whether they're hits or rarities, is just a shade too self-serious; the songs crawl along under the weight of the heavy, atmospheric keyboard and guitars, which may give Alanis plenty of space to run wild lyrically but never quite amount to being as catchy or immediate as any of Jagged Little Pill. As a result, The Collection isn't nearly as a satisfying listen as it should have been, even if it functions reasonably well as a sampler of Alanis' biggest and best post-JPL work. It may have more than its fair share of dull patches, but it does have most of the big songs, which should be enough for many fans who have liked various Alanis songs they've heard on the radio since Jagged Little Pill but never bothered following her after the muddled Supposed Former.

Customer Reviews

Thank U Alanis

This is (technically) the first Alansi Morissette album I bought, because I was unsure if I really liked Alanis enough. And now look - biggest Alanis fan there is! If you have (or haven't) ever listened to Alanis, buy this album. It has all her biggest hits, and has at least one song from each CD she's released. This is the ultimate collection of Alanis songs. I promise, if you buy this CD you will not be let down.

Misunderstandings

To clear up a few things:

1. Alanis didn't sing "I'm a B****, I'm a Lover." Meredith Brooks did.
2. For all those who declare how stupid Alanis is for not understanding 'Ironic,' well, you have missed the whole point. The song itself is ironic because it defines irony as its opposite which is the very definition of ironic.

If you liked her in the beginning...

...you will like this CD. A great collection of old, angry Alanis, along with more recent, grown up tunes. Definately an album that can play beginning to end.

Biography

Born: June 1, 1974 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette became one of the most unlikely stars of the 1990s on the strength of her third album, Jagged Little Pill. A former child actress turned dance-pop diva, Morissette transformed herself into a confessional alternative singer/songwriter in the vein of Liz Phair and Tori Amos. However, she bolstered that formula with enough pop sensibility, slight hip-hop flourishes, and marketing savvy to become a superstar. Jagged Little Pill, released in 1995, spun off six highly...
Full Bio