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Alanis Morissette - Flavors of Entanglement

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Rating: * * * *

From anger to sorrow, regret to acceptance, Alanis Morissette's seventh studio album catalogues the many emotional stages following a serious relationship break-up.

Given Morissette's split from her fiance, actor Ryan Reynolds, 18 months ago - around about the time she began writing Flavors of Entanglement - it seems safe to assume the experience provided much, if not all, of the album's torturous subject matter.

The soft piano melody of Torch, whose lyrics recall everything Morissette misses about her lover, is raw grief encapsulated.  Tapes is a cutting anthem of self-doubt, "I'm too exhausting to be loved/A volatile chemical/Best to quarantine and cut off".

Opening with the dark, synthesised beat of Citizen of the Planet, Morissette unleashes a rage not heard since the days of Jagged Little Pill. Likewise, on Underneath and Straitjacket hear a harsh determination spill out  that has been missing on her previous three albums.

As the record approaches halfway, the anger breaks and sadness reigns on the softly haunting, Not As We, a highlight of the album.

Sure, her lyrics are still obscure and awkward  and it won't have the same revolutionary impact as Jagged Little Pill, but Flavors of Entanglement is definitely Morissette's best work of this decade. 

Joanna Hunkin

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