Friday, May 11, 2007

Alanis Gimp.

I have never been able to take Alanis Morissette seriously. I have my reasons.

If you ask Joe Music-Listener what comes to his mind when he muses on Alanis Morissette, he’ll prolly offer up any piece of any track from Jagged Little Pill. Maybe he’ll break out into “Ironic” (which, when broken down, should have been called “Isn’t it a bummer?” Don’cha think?). If’n he’s the deep thinking type, he might even talk about how, thanks to her angst-ridden songs of female-dominated whatever, she was able to open the door for mistreated women everywhere. She sang about what women had been thinking for years and yada yada yada. Then again, maybe they’d just say something about how nice and long and healthy her hair is because, c’mon, it’s real pretty. Eh, it’s all conjecture on my part, I realize.

This comes from someone who has an Alanis concert VHS in my plastic bin of clunky treasures (bit of a VHS graveyard, it is). Yeah, I’m guilty. I even have a few Alanis Morissette albums in my collection. And not JLP, either. I think the too-wordy Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie album is stronger, anyway—it just didn’t win all the radio play its predecessor did. Why? Oh, because she went to India and came back with a smile. She found happiness, she did.

It’s not that I don’t like her. I just contend that she assumed the downtrodden female role and ran with it. And, lo and behold, it worked for her. No different than, say, Alice Cooper wearing makeup and acting all scary-like onstage, really. Give the people what they really want! It was just a means to an end. If your public pays you to be one way, why not go whole hog and embrace it, right? It wasn’t exactly who she was, but it put her on the map. It prolly even got Ryan Reynolds interested for all I know.

The Alanis I grew up with wanted to be like Cher or Madonna … or Britney, even. And, by that, I mean she wasn’t prone to using a last name. She also wanted to dance like Janet Jackson or Paula Abdul. Her songs were so poppy-sweet, they made your teeth hurt to hear them. I don’t think her album ever made it to the States, so we’ve people bowing to the poetic princess she is even now. Not that those two scenarios are connected in any way, I’m just saying. Fact of the matter is, it was a very timely shift in marketing. See, she wrote songs like “Too Hot” and “Feel Your Love” and “Party Boy” before she ever penned “Thank U” and “You Oughta Know” and “Head Over Feet”. It’s worth noting.

As far as I can tell, her 1991 debut (ALANiS) is out of print. Those who want her to keep limping through her career (did we honestly need an acoustic version of JLP for the Starbucks customers?) prolly hope you never catch wind of it. I, on the other hand, don’t mind being the one to expose her other side. I’ll give you your Jekyll with your Hyde. While there’s breath in these lungs and fire in these fingers, I will reveal the full truth in alla its ugly glory. I was lucky enough to have a kind friend o’ mine track down a used copy of the album up in Canada, and I was even going to post a track here for your shock and amusement, but, well, videos are more fun, aren’t they?

Lookit this. Then try to picture her doing the messy-hair, limp stagger thing on stage, the gimpy move that makes the crowd go wild (and if you’ve seen her in concert, you SO know what I’m talking about.). She ought to throw all the hippies for a real loop and bust out some of these moves instead. If she still can. I mean, it’d blow their patchouli minds.

Aaaaand, now contrast that with this.

You’re welcome!


aisy said...

my sister did send me this link of her doing a version of "my humps." i did laugh because it shows how ridiculous that song is. as for me, i will fondly remember her on you can't do that on television!

Mike said...

While I'm really surprised Alanis was able to make this transition, (for goodness sake, she opened for Vanilla Ice, and he certainly couldn't change genres later when he tried) I don't really think it's all that insincere.

Sure, she plays the downtrodden because that's what people want and are buying- but I also think that were she just trying to play that she would have followed up JLP without the smile and stayed angry despite the time in India.

Cause, come on- how many people age 25-35 would really want to be judged on their musical taste, how they looked, or what they thought was cool in 1991?

I know just because I was kicking it to C&C music factory and Bell Biv Devoe doesn't mean everyone was, but I bet there are quite a few of us who would be pretty embarrassed by the first albums they bought. I can't imagine if I'd made an album in 1991.

Dainon said...

Played the downtrodden. Played. Once she went back to being happy (which, given her charmed life up until then and now, why wouldn't she be?), her public had picked up and moved on for the most part.

But perhaps it's a moot point by now. And perhaps she continues to makes enough from her "angry young girl" days to care very much one or the other.

Which is why she has the time to do Blackeyed Peas parodies, of course. It all makes sense ... right?

f*bomb. said...

From what I understand of "the Bizness," that's just called, "having a Producer."

In fact, that was Alanis' point with JLP- it was the first time she was able to express herself, rather than be played out as a Canadian Pop Princess.

Dainon said...

I've heard that argument. I'm tired of it, but I've heard it. Eh, I'm sure they forced her to write every word of cheese on ALANiS as well. Yeah, she has writing credits on every song.

Sample? Alrighty then! Here's a couple bits from her "Oh Yeah!"

"My name is Alanis.
I'm a white chick singer
the drums are a-smokin'
and so's the bass
Shake your thing
When you sing
just sixteen
no disco queen"


"Now don't overdo it
when you shake your thing
cause you'll be goin'
insane when you start to sing

Without special training
an amateur/ Could be a casualty
case if they sing these words"

Um. Yeah. I mean, OH YEAH!

Ninny Beth said...

D- I think you need to meet my friend in Philadelphia. He has a very strong testimony of alanis. He could convert you. Her hair is really really pretty.

Lincoln said...

I'm with aisy. I, too, remember her on You Can't Do That On Television. Is she the only one on that show that went from being slimed to having some sort of career in show business?

bestsariah said...

I am always told I look like her. People always say she has a horse face. I think that means I have a horse face.

Mike said...

horse face maybe, but it's the face of a pretty horse at least

Dainon said...

No need for conversion at his point. I don't not like her. Remember how I said she dots my collection of music? I just find her climb to fame rather ... interesting is all. She's like Madonna, going from mall rat to sex goddess to, well, mommy author? Is Alanis a mom yet? Anyway, I'm not up to date on where she is and what she's doing. I'm just exposing the skeletons in her closet for all the world to see. I'm doing a service.

heatherlynn said...

d.--i'm so with you on this evolution. it's pretty fascinating. i'm completely intrigued by it (as well as madonna--who has surprisingly come up in my conversations quite a bit lately as we chronicle the timeline from material girl to present). how we maneuver our lives is incredible. social marketing vs. and including sincere growing up.

best--i thought about YOU the whole time i read this! and i'm so saying horse face is NOT your (or her scene).

m.--you're a charmer with the "pretty horse face" it made me smile.

Mikusan said...

I've never been much of a fan of the vengeful/spiteful love song, so Alanis hasn't ever been on my playlist.

But I really like that she doesn't take herself seriously - at least not anymore. Good for her.

Krispy said...

I heard Ryan Reynolds dumped her because he heard her old stuff.

Dainon said...

Krispy, you win for best comment ever. Especially considering I saw Blade 3 over the weekend and hated on Ryan Reynolds all over again.

Krispy said...

What do I get?

Daisy Paige said...

I'm with Mike...there aren't many I know that wouldn't cringe at the things they did as teenagers once they realized the world lay before them.

I'm just happy her tone evolved with her style and music. I love her voice.

f*bomb. said...

Say what you will about Alanis, but RYAN REYNOLDS IS A DREAMBOAT.

Dainon said...

Dreamy? Eh, I'm not to say. I just think he believes he's far funnier than he really is. Someone ought to clue him in at some point. Wipe that friggin smug smirk off his face already.