Alanis Morissette continues her music's progression with "Under Rug Swept," released this February to resounding success all over the world. The lead single from the album "Hands Clean," was released earlier that month, and has gone as far as to reach number 1 in Canada. This CD2 edition of the "Hands Clean" single shows just why. While I've heard some describe "Hands Clean" as an abstract of Alanis's life as a recording artist or just one relationship plucked out of the plethora of interesting experiences she's had over her mere 27 years, "Hands Clean" is one of her best works yet. We see less of an emphasis on the hard rocking tones of her earlier hits like "You Learn" and more of a focus on melody, beat, and lyrical value. Only Alanis can take a story and fit it into a song that sounds wonderful. The bridge is the highlight of the song: "What part of our history is reinvented and under rug swept? / What part of your memory is selective and tends to forget?" While revealing a part of her own relationship she relates it back to the listener and is even able to throw a completely different perspective on the song! Even after two blockbuster albums and several radio hits, Alanis hasn't lost her touch! A clear 5-star song and a current/pending radio hit!
Unique to this Australian pressing of Hands Clean CD2, is "Awakening Americans"--a touching, true, inspiring, and somewhat carping look at American culture and values. While Under Rug Swept may focus more on the sensuality and relationship aspects of life, "Awakening Americans" brings into focus society, as Alanis did on her stellar 1998 album "Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie." "Awakening Americans" is a bit on the country side of musical genres, but its strength is its lyrics and their authenticity: "We teach our offspring for themselves, every man/We shrug our shoulders and create yet another -ism." A very good 4-star song that should have been more accessible to the public than simply a b-side.
"Unprodigal Daughter," addresses the familiar concerns of family and growth as a person. It's a rock track; something that Under Rug Swept may be missing a bit of. The lyrics and music complement each other beautifully. The lyrics to this song are once again a study in English, as Alanis manipulates them to fit the music. A clear standout stanza is "Unprodigal daughter and I'm heading for the west/Disenchanted daughter and this plane cannot fly fast enough/Unencumbered daughter hit the ground running at last." 5 stars.
"Symptoms," is where Alanis gets a little bit esoteric, but that's fine because we can all spend a few day mulling over and ruminating upon the meaning of her lyrics. The music itself here doesn't seem to be as important as its meaning. Alanis creates and builds a story of survival with "Symptoms" with haunting singing. Definitely 5-stars!
This single carrying "Hands Clean" is stellar, drawn directly from Alanis's latest album Under Rug Swept," infuses 3 more tracks and in additional 13 minutes of music into the 51 minute cd. I recommend this cd because of its 3 bonus tracks and the stunning quality of each one, including the hit single "Hands Clean."
1-Hands Clean (album version) 4:30
2-Awakening Americans (non album track) 4:25
3-Unprodigal Daughter (non album track) 4:09
4-Symptoms (non album track) 4:15
Total time: 17:20