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Alanis Morissette
A Star Returns
taken from Faces of Pop Magazine

Without a doubt, 1996 was Alanis Morissette's year. In an instant, she suddenly burst upon the pop music scene, seemingly coming from nowhere (well, actually it was Canada) to take over the rock and roll world. Her angry, vitriolic, yet touchingly ironic lyrical spew, epitomized by her breakthrough hit, You Oughta Know, tapped a responsive nerve within a lost generation, many of whom were looking for someone...anyone...to step forward and verbalize their thoughts and dreams. Alanis was that "someone" - a waifish girl dressed in a T-shirt and baggy pants who seemed to have a unique ability to dissect the joys, passions and problems of today's world.
On the strength of one album, Jagged Little Pill, and a string of charttopping, MTV fave singles, Alanis blossomed into the unassuming, but more-than-ready spokeswoman for Gen X. Young girls started to dress like her, and young boys started to lust after her - all much to Alanis' amusement. In many ways she was the perfect role model for the late-'90s rock "chick", part femme fatale, part tom-boy, a hippie-cum-heroine personality who wasn't ashamed of displaying her wide-eyed innocence or her occasionally off-beat sexual predilections with equal musical abandon. "I'm having a lot of fun," she said shortly after Jagged Little Pill hit the top of the charts. "Who could have imagined that something like this would happen?"
It's no longer 1996. Two years have now passed since Ms. Morissette first rocketed into the psyche or rock fans everywhere. And in 1998 the world waits to see if the phenomenon of '96 can return as a superstar in '98. With the imminent release of her new album, tentatively titled Desperately Yours, Alanis has reentered the rock fray with a bang. There are many who are more than anxious to see if this pintsized musical phenom who sold an incredible 26 million copies of her previous disc can come close to matching this success this time around. Quite simply, skeptics and supporters alike seem to abound when the subject is Alanis Morissette, and that fact alone has created an atmosphere filled with excitement, energy and more than a bit of tension for the 25 (she is 24, edited) year old Ontario native. "I can't worry about what people think about me or my music," she said. "Music is more than some business to me. It's what I do all the time. I write constantly. And when I feel I have enough good songs, I go in and record them. It really is that simple. There wasn't some big plan for the last album to make it a huge success. It just happened."
Despite her seemingly never-ending surprise surrounding the incredible success afforded Jagged Little Pill, Alanis has done little to mess up a good thing this time around. Once again working with noted producer Glenn Ballard (the man who gave shape to many of her last album's most impressive tunes), she has constructed a series of tight, memorable songs that run the gamut from plaintive pop to full-throttle rock. Even the anger that filled so many of the tunes on her previous disc is still present, though one must wonder exactly what would still piss off a young woman with millions in the bank, millions of fans around the world and seemingly millions of awards to place on her mantle. Yet on such new nodes as Death Of Cinderella, Can't Not and King Of Intimidation, Morissette proves herself to be a master songsmith, a writer and performer capable of writing every last ounce of emotion out of every note she sings. "Alanis was bigger than her music last time", a close confidant explained. "That was unfortunate in one regard - that perhaps she was dismissed by some as being the 'flavor of the month' or something like that. But anyone with ears knows that there's an incredible amount of talent there. She is a singularly distinctive performer. We all realize that the chances of selling more than 25 million albums again are slim and none. That only happens once in a performer's life - when all the ingredients are perfectly aligned. But that doesn't mean that she can't keep making brilliant music, and we believe she has." It should rank as one of 1998's most fascinating social experiments to witness the degree of "backlash" Morissette experiences with her latest disc. There are those who believe Desperately Yours will help solidify her position as one of the dominant female performers of the decade. There are others who believe with equal conviction that she will follow the time-tested "Hootie Rule" - that is produce one album that captures the imagination of everyone, everywhere, then quickly disappear from sight. Only time, and the degree of dedication emanating from her fan base, will tell with (which, edited) path Alanis Morissette will follow on her next sojourn through the rock and roll world.
"I made music before Jagged Little Pill and I'll make music after it," she said. "I don't need to stand in (on, edited) stage in front of 10,000 people to feel a degree of self worth. I just hope that people keep listening to my music - I think it has something to say."

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