Under Rug Swept

Under Rug Swept

4.3 23
by Alanis Morissette

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Jettisoning producer/creative partner Glen Ballard, Alanis Morissette takes charge of her own creative vision on Under Rug Swept, building upon the cathartic pop rock of her award-winning breakthrough, Jagged Little Pill. Conjuring up an alt-folk sound peppered with loops, sporadic heavy guitar riffs, and hip-hop beatsSee more details below


Jettisoning producer/creative partner Glen Ballard, Alanis Morissette takes charge of her own creative vision on Under Rug Swept, building upon the cathartic pop rock of her award-winning breakthrough, Jagged Little Pill. Conjuring up an alt-folk sound peppered with loops, sporadic heavy guitar riffs, and hip-hop beats, Morissette proves she's learned plenty from mentors such as Ballard. Maybe a little too much, if you consider the underage sex with an older industry type recounted in the single "Hands Clean." But despite the titillating promise of that track, Alanis's taboo-smashing lyrics are fewer and farther between on Under Rug Swept. Older, she's also more in control. Morissette explores the vagaries of love -- affairs with older men, run-ins with ex-boyfriends (a delicately ruminative "Flinch"), and commitment-phobes (the bubbly "Surrendering"). The seething child with the confessional wallop has been soothed and has grown into a wise woman who delivers more distant anthems of self-empowerment, such as "21 Things I Want in a Lover," which could have been swiped from Ani DiFranco. The album even climaxes with the airy bliss of "Utopia" -- if you can actually imagine this former avenging angel being happy. Without leaving behind the wordy self-analysis or hectoring righteousness that endeared her to fans, Morissette has managed to mature. But underneath the dispassionate talk of loving herself and healing, there's that thrilling edge to Alanis Morissette's voice, hinting at imminent explosion. That alone is enough for fans to stay tuned.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Although it wasn't immediately apparent, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie found Alanis Morissette floundering in her success, albeit ever so slightly. Like most arty collegiate types, she reacted to massive success with an instinct to experiment, and since she had sold so many records, she and producer/collaborator Glen Ballard were given free range to do pretty much whatever they wanted, resulting in a muted, fitfully intriguing album that had the feel of a sophomore slump even if it was her fourth record (but who counts those first two records as part of her discography, anyway?). It was pretty good, it sold pretty well, but nobody liked it all that much, so it was time for a cool change on her next record, Under Rug Swept (funny how the three years separating Jagged Little Pill and Supposed seemed longer than the three between Supposed and this). The biggest move Alanis made was ditching Ballard, which has the unexpected result of bringing back the sound of Jagged Little Pill, a lush, dense layering of loops, guitars, keyboards, and vocals that makes her songs seem catchier than they are. But that's not all -- she's returned to the impassioned, awkwardly written, syllable-heavy confessional verse that marked Jagged Little Pill. Not only that, she's returned to the very relationship that inspired her breakthrough hit "You Oughta Know," most clearly on the album's lead single, "Hands Clean," this time written from the perspective of the older man who laid prey to the young Canadian star. This would all seem calculated, an attempt to regain her chart status, if Morissette wasn't so unabashedly earnest, seemingly unembarrassed by her confessions. And perhaps she shouldn't be, since her lyrics are so elaborately overwritten it's hard to discern what's going on in her songs. Repeated listens may reveal that her tortured verse derives from something very personal indeed (perhaps it's something so personal, she chooses to hide it by ignoring the rules of syntax and logic, but given her interviews, her unwieldy words are likely just a personal artistic statement), but it's never clear what the songs are about, unless she makes it clear in the title ("21 Things I Want in a Lover," "Narcissus," to name but two). It was easier to call this trait charming on the diary confessions of Jagged, but by this point, the elaborate phrasing and rush of consonants is becoming a bit of a distraction, but the saving grace of Under Rug Swept is that it sounds good. The music flows, the production doesn't overplay its hand, it's pleasingly melodic, tempering the extremities of Jagged Little Pill while retaining the character, and as such, it's easy to groove on the sound without listening to the words. A downside is that the songs, apart from the first three, don't stand out as individual songs, but they do cohere as a whole better than Supposed, and that's no small accomplishment. Alanis is still held back by her own idiosyncrasies -- her determination to be different, to write every word she could possibly ever want to say in as difficult a way as possible -- but that's also her defining characteristic. It's better heard on Jagged, but if you want more of that, take this: it's what Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie should have been.
Blender - Clark Collis
That Morissette would continue to delve into the darker recesses of her psyche is impressive, given the commercial consequences of doing so.

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Product Details

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Alanis Morissette   Primary Artist,Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Eric Avery   Bass
Chris Bruce   Bass
Dean DeLeo   Guitar
Flea   Bass
Meshell Ndegeocello   Bass
Jamie Muhoberac   Keyboards
Gary Novak   Percussion,Drums
Carmen Rizzo   Keyboards
Tim Thorney   Bass,Guitar
Joel Shearer   Guitar
Nick Lashley   Guitar
Johnny Talbot   Keyboards
Chris Chaney   Bass
Richard Causon   Piano

Technical Credits

Rob Jacobs   Engineer
Carmen Rizzo   Programming,Engineer
Alanis Morissette   Composer,Producer
Andrew Scheps   Digital Editing
Mike Harlow   Engineer
Brad Nelson   Engineer
Vince Giannini   Guitar Techician
Kevin Guarnieri   Engineer
Dave Lee   Bass Technician
Frank Maddocks   Art Direction
Bruce Nelson   Guitar Techician
Rich Mazzetta   Guitar Techician

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