Throughout history the concept of the "tortured artist" is nothing new and down through the ages some of the most gifted painters, sculptors, authors and musicians have walked that fine line between genius and insanity. Given that, it's no surprise that angst and passion can lead one to the absolute heights of inspiration. Alanis Morissette says that each album she releases is a snapshot of periods of time in her life so I guess a backhanded 'thank you' has to go to actor Ryan Reynolds because the parting of the ways with Alanis has given her, in part, the fuel that lit this incredible fire, one of passion, introspection and absolute brilliance. Having said that, this is not a 'downer' album, in fact, right from the start with "Citizen of the Planet" there's something here that is almost indescribable yet still carries a familiar, almost exotic resonance. It's reminiscent of an Evanescence song. The next song, "Underneath" was the first single released and this is pure Alanis and as familiar as a welcomed old friend. An interesting point is the fact that this CD is on Madonna's Maverick label and there are moments that mirror the Material Girl in a big way; "Straitjacket", "Versions of Violence" and "Moratorium" could all fit perfectly on Madonna's "Ray of Light" CD. Interestingly enough, Guy Sigsworth, who has worked with Madonna in the past, produced this album. For all intents and purposes though, this is pure Alanis. There's a river of melancholy magic running through "Not As We" and "Torch" bears all the scars of a totally broken heart but "Giggling Again for No Reason" is joyful and light-hearted and hints at a resurrection and healing.
This CD probably won't hit the same high sales marks that "Jagged Little Pill" set, it's hard to top such a worldwide mega-successful album, but this is definitely the best one Alanis has ever recorded. The sheer brilliance of "Versions of Violence" and "Underneath" alone makes this CD worth buying and the other amazing songs just help to further prove that point. It's a truly amazing collection.