Review : Alanis Morissette - Havoc and Bright Lights
SputnikmusicTowards the end of the track “Celebrity”, Morissette appears to claim that she is “a tattooed, sexy, dancing monkey.” The lyric is indicative of just what is wrong with Havoc and Bright Lights. The angry, scorned young woman of Jagged Little Pill has finally given way to a confused, insipid and self-obsessed harpy. “Celebrity”, probably established as a wry aside at the nature of fame, is far more anonymous and plain than its intended targets. It is a trend that continues throughout the LP and is about as helpful and welcome as having the ***s on your wedding day.
Since we’re on the subject of defecation, let’s talk some more about the music. Morissette has now veered completely away from the acerbic, concise barbs upon which she made her name. Instead her flag is well and truly planted in the territory of the vague and ambiguous; one word titles so lacklustre even Pearl Jam would think twice before using them. “Havoc” is instead a paragon of boredom; a Tori Amos b-side in new clothing. “Spiral” winds its way into a landfill of musical proportions and “Til You” doesn’t make sense in any shape or form.
Perhaps this is to be expected after all. Just how long can you keep the fire of inspiration lit? Sales of Jagged Little Pill ensured that Morissette would be quaffing quail eggs and swan’s blood for the rest of her life, so why should she bother? It’s a little ironic (finally!) that you will be asking yourself the same question after two or three songs of this record....full text
AllmusicRebounding from the breakup record of 2008's Flavors of Entanglement, Alanis Morissette is in a sunny mood on Havoc and Bright Lights, her first album in four years and first she's released since leaving her longtime home at Maverick Records. A new home suggests it's time for a rebirth and Havoc and Bright Lights certainly fits the bill, Morissette exuding a quiet bliss as a happy newlywed and mother, a sensibility that's tempered somewhat by Alanis also embracing her role as an elder statesman, hectoring all those young folk eager to become a "tattooed sexy dancing monkey" so they can become a "Celebrity." Such mild condescension doesn't surface all that often, probably because Morissette is in an unusually benevolent mood, settling into her happiness without raising a single doubt or misgiving. Naturally, it follows that her music also feels quite comfortable. Working once again with producer Guy Sigsworth -- he helmed Flavors -- along with his new partner Joe Chiccarelli, Morissette flips Flavors inside out, winding up with a wide-open, cheerful set of adult pop, the kind where the sound matters more than the song. And that's not quite fair to Alanis, for as content as she is, she's still exploring the depths of her satisfaction, working out its pitfalls and plateaus. If the music shortchanges this struggle, presenting it as nothing more than a foregone conclusion, at least Havoc and Bright Lights is as soothing as a Sunday afternoon nap or a warm bath: it's music for when you know you're right where you want to be....full text
GuardianAlanis Morissette, now on album number eight, appears to be very happy and very into motherhood. Which is great for her, but less great for her music. When unavoidably held up to her own high water mark of a monster 1995 album – the savage, sexy, scornful Jagged Little Pill – this latest sounds woefully hobbled by tender feelings. There's a lone belter in the anthemic, power chord-heavy Guardian, but for the most part these songs are entirely lacking in bite, dragging through limp soft rock and even softer sentiments and reaching their nadir in the execrably squishy ballad Til You....full text
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