You know the saying that claims anger, heartbreak and any kind of conflict make for the best songwriting? Never has it seemed more true than with latest album from Alanis Morissette, an artist whose life has been seemingly more conflict-free since the last time we saw her.
After a four-year hiatus from album releases, Morissette released “Havoc and Bright Lights” Tuesday. The artist has seemed to abandon, at least mostly, her irate musical roots. Maybe it’s because of her recent marriage to rapper Mario “Souleye” Treadway or her launch into motherhood, but a good majority of the album sounds a lot less riot-starting and a lot more cute.
Granted, who am I to say anyone should hold back from happiness in his or her life for the sake of good songwriting? Still, contentment has not been quite as lovely for Morissette’s music.
Songs such as “Empathy” give a strong impression that her life has taken a U-turn. With lyrics like “Thank you for seeing me / I feel so less lonely / Thank you for guiding me / I heal by, your empathy,” I think it’s safe to say all is good and dandy in the life of our favorite angry, ’90s feminist rocker.
A love ballad written presumably for her husband Treadway, “til you,” oozes a little too much lightheartedness.
Nonetheless, take those criticisms with a grain of salt. Despite what it might seem in the aforementioned paragraphs, I don’t completely dislike “Havoc and Bright Lights.” There’s still a slight amount of Morissette’s old ways left in her. Each song flows smoothly with pop-like drums and melancholic stringing, and some even display the heated, passionate activist we all know and love.
Songs such as “Lens,” which confronts conflicting opinions on political and religious issues, feed the philosophical need her fans might look for. “Numb,” on the other hand, shows a momentary burst of the artist’s now-hidden rage, marked by lyrics like “I feel smothered and encumbered and defeated and drawn / Disappointed, over-extended and frustrated and shaken.”
So while Morissette has made multiple life changes to increase her own happiness – and don’t get me wrong, we’re all very excited for her – I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the less mellow and more ill-tempered version of the musician.