Alanis Morissette, Such Pretty Forks in the Road, review: This adds a mature balance to undimmed emotion

Alanis Morissette was relieved when fame’s comet swiftly fell to more manageable levels, having crashed into her full-force 25 years ago, when she was just 21.

Selling 33m copies of Jagged Little Pill means, though, that she remains on many people’s minds.

With a Diablo Cody-scripted hit musical based on its songs, and vivid female confession no longer an anomaly in the age of Fiona Apple, this ninth album arrives at a receptive moment.

“This is the sound of me hitting bottom… and the anatomy of my crash,” Morissette sings in the opener, Smiling, seeming to announce another chapter in her ongoing, familiar story.

Such Pretty Forks in the Road is music by someone comfortable with their discomfort, and apologising for nothing

But, long married with three children, and with a quarter-century’s further spiritual searching and psychiatric digging to draw on, middle-aged Alanis has added mature balance to undimmed emotion.

Her voice signifies this mix of consistency and growth, though is always still poised to leap and crack.

During Diagnosis she rises and bites down on words, calibrating her anger at assailants. “Call me what you need,” she offers, “to make yourself comfortable.”

It’s a song which embraces her fractures, suggesting psychic wounds can become their own act of healing.

Such Pretty Forks in the Road’s second half loosens up, from the brittle horror movie chimes of Reckoning (about a Weinstein-like predator) to psychedelic memoir Nemesis, which broods then races into 80s clubland, as if nodding to her Canadian pop starlet pre-history.

This is music by someone comfortable with their discomfort, and apologising for nothing.



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