Alanis Morissette is back in the bright lights
It’s been four years since the Canadian superstar released, Flavors of Entanglement, a documentation of her ruptured relationship with actor Ryan Reynolds.
“It reflected some serious disassembling in my personal life. It’s a broken moment captured, and then I like to think a phoenix rising,” Alanis says of her previous project.
“That’s the snapshot of [Flavors of Entanglement]. I could have written something six months later and it would have been a whole other landscape.”
Fast forward to a few years later, Alanis is back and has framed a new panorama.
Just as autobiographical as its predecessors, Havoc and Bright Lights is largely inspired by Alanis’ marriage to rapper Mario Treadway and the birth of their first child.
“A lot of times I’ll write about something that happened six months prior or even something that happened in my childhood,” Alanis explains. “I really just write about what’s going on in my life, let each record be a snapshot of that time.”
Alanis recorded Havoc and Bright Lights in her LA home, and once again called on producer Guy Sigsworth who worked with her on 2008’s Flavors.
Alanis counts herself lucky to have worked with Guy, especially since the pair’s professional union began with what she calls a crapshoot.
“I heard the song ‘Let Go’ by his band Frou Frou with Imogen Heap,” Alanis recalls. “I remember thinking it was technologically so sound and really soulful, a rare combination. So I took the risk, phoned him and he was up for diving in together.”
Lunge into Havoc, and you’ll find the water’s not as calm and placid as it looks from afar. It’s not all about her toddler and baby-daddy.
There are still many issues that provoke Alanis. She expresses her outrage and unease in songs like “Celebrity” as she reflects on the shallowness of fame, and addresses female oppression with “Woman Down.”
Motherhood hasn’t dulled her edge, Alanis is still bitter. So go on, call her jaded and infuriated.
“I’ll take it,” Alanis says with such gratitude. “It’s an honor to be considered angry because anger has been swept under the carpet so much with regards to women that it’s flattering.”
Praised for nearly 20 years now, the 38-year-old Grammy award winner was only 21 when she first unleashed her fury on the world in the form of the phenomenal hit album Jagged Little Pill.
“It was about reducing shame,” Alanis looks back. “As a woman, I had shame around being powerful, being a warrior, being angry. I had shame around being vulnerable, devastated, ugly, rejected and all these seemingly shameful things.”
Alanis may have struggled with shame, but she never grappled with penning confessional songs disclosing the things that weigh on her mind, and she’s not going to start with Havoc and Bright Lights.
“I never felt uncomfortable with it. I think the bigger pain for me is the lie of pretending to not be human,” Alanis says.
“When I try to present myself as an infallible, invincible, impenetrable human being, that’s when I’m in pain because it’s not true. To share what I experience, comfort, uplift and thought provoke, that’s my life purpose. If I could offer anything to anyone who would listen to my songs, it would be just a four-minute moment of dropping any shame around being human.”