An Alanis Morissette album is a lot like Lenoir Dining Hall's sushi.
Just as there's something disturbing about the idea of Lenoir preparing raw fish, there's also something off-putting about listening to Morissette yodel her most intimate secrets.
But once you acquire the taste for them, you start to crave their distinctive flavor.
"Under Rug Swept," however, finds Morissette taming some of her characteristic vocal spiciness for a glossier approach to relationship therapy.
Men and their hesitant approach to commitment are still the source of most of her rants.
But where Morissette once laid all the blame on her ex-boyfriends, she now admits her faults as reason for relationship woes. Tracks like "So Unsexy" and "Flinch" reveal a newfound confidence and understanding of her past involvements with men.
Musically, the album is a hybrid of the sharp song styles of "Jagged Little Pill," and the twisted lyrical-syntax of "Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie."
"21 Things I Want In A Lover" jump- starts the album with a dirty guitar riff and a tongue-twisting list of things she's looking for in a man. Morissette also revisits the kiss-off of "You Oughta Know" in "Narcissus," which begins with the bizarre damnation, "Dear mamma's boy/I know you had your butt licked by your mother." The line isn't very poetic, but it's quite effective at getting her point across and proves that Morissette has not lost her knack for directness.
"Hands Clean," about her past relationships with pedophiliac 30-something men, rounds out the excellent opening trio with a slick sing-along chorus full of major chords and "oohs."
But after these three amazing tracks, the album levels off a bit, and Morissette is left mostly restating similar sentiments in less intriguing guises.
The main disappointment of "Under Rug Swept" is Morissette's own heavy-handed production. There was always something so charming about hearing her screw up that flute solo on "That I Would Be Good" and feeling like the music could fall apart at any second during the guitar scratch of "All I Really Want."
But here, everything is in its right place, and it strips Morissette's performance of its originality. Though her lyrics remain as original as ever, Morissette lets her unique vocals take a back seat to her band's performance in an uncharacteristic, Lilith-esque manner.
"That Particular Time" sounds like Sarah McLachlan a l
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