Alanis Morissette has reemerged in Frou Frou skin. Utilizing Guy Sigsworth (who brought crunch to Bjork and beeps and whistles to Imogen Heap), Alanis' Flavors of Entanglement is true to form: the least catchy title ever and an excellent collection of songs.
First single "Underneath" will be ringing in my ears for a while, but it's got heavy competition between the opener "Citizen of the Planet," which seems to be a defiant verse/verse/chorus on our connectedness through the world and our heritages; "Straitjacket," wherin she blasts her lover for failing to live up to his own condemnations; and "Not As We," the blistering new ballad in the vein of "That Particular Time," and features an embattled Alanis the day after a tortured relationship's climax.
"Torch" and "Moratorium" follow the hallowed-out heart journey, and "Tapes" does too but takes some time to get into. "Giggling Again For No Reason" is electronica candy with actual substance, and "Versions of Violence" is Alanis at her most seething in years.
"In Praise of the Vulnerable Man" seems a little gratuitous and as if Alanis feels compelled to now and again remind everyone that yes, she does like men and is not the vicious harpy she was made out to be when "You Oughta Know" came out. It's just ok but one of the weaker bits.
"Incomplete," her most whimsical final track ever, after the practical dirges that were "Your Congratulations," "Your House," and the midtempo "Utopia" and "Everything" maintained.
The material is solid and while it's not stupendous all the way through, it had some of her best work ever. She's been delivering quite excellent work for some time now, and while she may not be slamming them out of the park like Jagged Little Pill did (and who could?), she's proving herself to be so much more than just getting by and doing an album for the sake of it.
A deluxe edition with 5 extra tracks is available when the album properly comes out on May 10th, but I've only heard one of them ("20/20"-- pleasant but I don't even remember it) thus.
Download This: "Citizen of the Planet," "Not As We," "Versions of Violence"