Well Rounded Little Pill
Alanis Morissette Explains The Meaning Of Life, Sex,
Music And Communism
by Kate Sullivan
submitted by Emily
Alanis Morissette is at one with the universe. THank you, Canada. She
wrote her new album, Under Rug Swept, in her native land on electric guitar
in addition to her usual piano, and it's a welcome return to pop after
1998's murky, PMS-ing Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. Apparantly,
the rock gods have been smiling on the 27-year-old alt-pop queen. In the
past year, Morissette worked out differences with her label, Madonna's
Maverick; performed at a slew of charity concerts (pro-choice, clean energy,
etc.); overhauled her personal life; and toured the Middle East. She even
did a Fap ad. But, we're happy to report, she still says fuck a lot.
SPIN: THIS RECORD IS MUCH CATCHIER THAN YOUR LAST. SONICALLY, IT'S CLOSER
TO 1995'S JAGGED LITTLE PILL.
Alanis Morissette: Yeah, it's more structered, which feels good. After
the big overwhelm of Jagged Little Pill, Supposed was like my way of saying,
"Fuck you, leave me alone, I just need to insulate myself" --not
adhere to any structure or expectation that I felt coming at me at 100
miles per hour. There was a lot of pressure. I thought, "If this
is what the artistic process has now become, take me off your mailing
YOU'VE SAID SONGWRITING IS SCARY BECAUSE IT SHAKES UP YOUR LIFE. DID
THIS ALBUM DO THAT?
Yeah. I hadn't been writing at all before I started this record, for like
nine months or something--not in my journal, nothing. To me, writing is
like talking with God. So whenever I stop, I feel a separation from myself,
from joy. I was feeling numb. I was in a relationship that I wasn't sure
was going to be continuing, but I really wanted it to. As soon as I started
writing again, I knew that I had to put my seat belt on. I broke up with
my boyfriend and over the next eight months, I changed some frineds, got
a place in Canada, changed my bandmates, changed my dynamic with my manager,
renegotiated my contract with Maverick, reinvestigaged my spirituality,
and wrote a foreword for a book. Started painting again. But the biggest
[change] was my romantic relationship.
SPEARKING OF WHICH, WAS THERE ANY STUFF THAT DIDN'T MAKE YOUR LIST IN
THE NEW SONG "21 THINGS I WANT IN A LOVER"?
Oh yeah! I have like 673 things. I wrote a new list the other day. It
has to be updated after every guy. [Laughs] I want someone who can be
a complete dork with me and have no shame and be really disgusting. Because
life is just so fucking short. Without a map, I wander aimlessly. And
infatuation just blurs the whole thing for me. So I can go, "Oh,
spirituality is very important to me, and this person, no matter how much
I want to fuck him right now, does not believe in God." That list
has saved my ass on a few occasions.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN CASUAL SEX THESE DAYS, OR DOES IT FEEL LIKE THAT
DRAINS YOUR MOJO?
There's a part of me that feels 53 years old and would just love to be
in a committed relationship, and then there's a whole other part of me
that is very 27. I'm still on an adventure. I'm still investigating. I'm
still defining who I am in every moment. I believe you can be in a relationship
and be really free. I have a sense in the back of my mind of wanting to
have kids a little later and stuff, but I'm not having kids anytime soon.
These are the things that I write about in my journal. I have a little
more writing to do, obviously.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO DO A GAP AD?
My initial response when they called was, "What about sweatshops,
and why would I do a Gap ad?" They said my payment would go to a
charity of my choice, and immediately I went, "Oooh." And then
they said it was going to be a Supertramp song, and the theme of the commercial
would be the encouragement of generosity and contributing. Then they said
that Liz Phair and Macy Gray were doing it, and I love those guys. After
investigating about sweatshops, I decided to do it. I think maybe some
people might not know what led to my decision. I'm a capitalist/socialist/communist--I
believe everyone shoudl be allowed to be entrepreneurial...but it would
be great if there were a cap on everyone's incomes. You can make this
many millions per year, and the rest goes back into the world. So that's
why I thought this was cool--money going from a corporations to a charity.
DO YOU HAVE A SALARY CAP?
Yeah, definately. I give at least 10 percent of my income. I'd like to
build that up to 20.
DO YOU EVER THINK, "I GOTTA SHOW MY BELLY AND GET THE TRL KIDS"?
In the mid-'90s, I was responding to the patriarchy and my anger and frustration
and my eyes rolling, so I was like overalls, jeans, not showing my body.
Having struggled with body image and eating disorders, I was specifically
not going to be overtly sexual. In the past couple years, I've started
to tap into embracing my womanhood--but without feeling like I have to
adhere to some stereotype of how a woman should look. There's a part of
me that loves glamour, and there's another part that could go camping
for seven months and wear the same thing every day and be dirty and disgusting
and feel happy doing that. So to me, it's just fun. And it's also onlyone
piece of the pie of what I present.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE SEXUALITY BRITNEY SPEARS PUTS ACROSS?
There is an element of power in it. I'd just love to see the other pieces.
I just miss them. Your body is what it is. All shapes and sizes are sexy
to me, anyway. It's fun to see skin, but what about the rest of you? Why
aren't those pieces being shared?
ARE YOU SAD THERE AREN'T MORE FEMALE SONGWRITERS ON THE RADIO NOW?
The pendulum swinging is always so funny to me. I just watch it swing
back and forth. I'm somewhere walking between it, hoping I won't get bashed