Alanis Morissette – review

Apollo, Manchester

"You sound great!" beams Alanis Morisette, holding the microphone towards the crowd bellowing along with Ironic. It comes from her third album Jagged Little Pill, which, in 1995, made her an international superstar at 21. Now, 17 years on, her audience adore those songs so much they even act out Hand in My Pocket, slapping palms to the line "giving a high five." But the same high fivers chatter away frustratingly during new songs from her excellent forthcoming album Havoc and Bright Lights.

There are worse albatrosses to carry than a 33m-selling album, and Morissette hasn't always pushed herself too hard to escape it. There has been a Jagged acoustic album and here, the long-locked Canadian plays seven of its songs – more than a third of the setlist – to a riotous reception. But, however delicately, she is trying to move on, and the absurdly anthemic newie Guardian may be her best song of this century.

In the 90s, she was an angry young woman whose big lungs spat vengeance at an unfaithful lover, which happily coincided with the fashion for grungy guitars and female confessionals. Now 38, she is a married mother with quietly touching songs pondering the troubles and joys of maturity, domesticity and stardom, but she can still do anguished fury. The new song Woman Down offers out internet "haters". You Oughta Know still sounds so demented that you can almost hear the hiss of bunnies boiling as the audience bellow the infamous line: "Is she perverted like me? Would she go down on you in a theatre?" But she sings them with a grin.

Perhaps, in time, her audience will appreciate newies such as Numb, ironically about how a fixed smile can hide an emotional cauldron. In the meantime, out come more of those old signature anthems, and the bellowing starts again.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Alanis Morissette, Brixton Academy, London

Brixton Academy, London

Ian Gittins

23, Jun, 2008 @11:10 PM

Alanis Morissette, Bush Hall, London

Bush Hall, London

Caroline Sullivan

11, May, 2004 @12:47 AM

Article image
Pop CD: Alanis Morissette, Flavors of Entanglement


Caroline Sullivan

29, May, 2008 @11:10 PM

Article image
CD: Alanis Morissette, So-Called Chaos


Caroline Sullivan

14, May, 2004 @2:04 AM

Alanis Morissette: Havoc and Bright Lights – review

Alanis Morissette has gone all soft rock on album number eight, writes Hermione Hoby

Hermione Hoby

25, Aug, 2012 @11:05 PM

Article image
Alanis Morissette review – Jagged Little Pill still cuts deep after 25 years
Morissette’s acoustic outing for her smash-hit album’s anniversary proves these songs are as lacerating as ever

Caroline Sullivan

05, Mar, 2020 @10:35 AM

Article image
CD: Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill Acoustic


Alexis Petridis

15, Jul, 2005 @2:46 PM

Article image
Alanis Morissette review – full-throttle tour through greatest hits
The Canadian alt-rocker delivers high-energy thrills amid sing-alongs that could rival the cheers of jubilant football fans

Hannah Ewens

09, Jul, 2018 @6:00 AM

Article image
Six Songs of Me: Alanis Morissette

The singer picks the music that means the most to her as part of our Six Songs of Me project

Paul Lester

24, Sep, 2012 @2:03 PM

Article image
Thank you consequence: did Alanis Morissette invent wellbeing?
It’s twenty years since her Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie album was released - a record full of Goop theories and other prophetic elements

Michael Cragg

23, Nov, 2018 @1:00 PM