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Alanis Morissette photo gallery

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"Hands Clean" [RealVideo]
"Ironic" [RealVideo]
"Thank U" [RealVideo]
"Hand In My Pocket" [RealVideo]
"You Oughta Know" [RealVideo]
"Head Over Feet" [RealVideo]
"You Learn" [RealVideo]
"So Pure" [RealVideo]
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"Hands Clean" [RealAudio]
"21 Things" [RealAudio]
"Utopia" [RealAudio]
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-- by Jennifer Vineyard

The meek might inherit the earth, but it's the mighty who roar back at their exes who'll own the top of the charts.

Alanis Morissette oughta know — after her 1995 breakthrough album, Jagged Little Pill, went down so uneasily that the world couldn't help but take notice, she turned soft and spiritual, thanking India on 1998's Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie yet disappointing those who looked to her to express their inner vitriol for them — enlightenment never did taste as sweet as revenge.

For her upcoming third album, Under Rug Swept, Morissette reclaims her angry bad self — at least in part. Say hello again to "Mr. Duplicity" — otherwise known as the "You Oughta Know" guy. Remember that song's war cry, "I'm here to remind you/ Of the mess you left when you went away"? Now, two albums post-Jagged, we finally get to the mess itself. Under Rug Swept may not shock like Jagged, but it dusts off the same topics — love, sex, cruelty — with the added vantage of years spent growing up and getting over the man who vexed her so. Morissette hasn't lost her bite, though she has discovered a spoonful of redemption helps the revenge go down.

"There was an element of my wanting to absolve myself of certain things that I had been repressing for a long time," the singer said. "As I've grown older, I had a tendency as a Canadian, as a woman, as someone from the family that I grew up in to focus singularly on the positive elements of this and not focus on some of the shadowy, darker stuff. And now I realize that including all of it makes the picture really whole." [RealVideo]

The "picture" is the relationship that started in her mid-teens and continued through her early 20s. "I don't know if you could call it first love, but it was the first something," she said with a laugh. Careful listeners may have already picked up clues to the nature of the relationship and its demise, which are sprinkled throughout both Jagged and Swept — he was older and he left her for an older woman.

There are clues, too, of the damage left in the relationship's wake — specifically Morissette's eating disorders. It's no secret she has rampant body-image issues, a recurring theme throughout her work which finds her obsessing Bridget Jones-style about weight, food and the impossibility of obtaining or maintaining a "perfect" body. Such songs as "Mary Jane" and "Perfect" on Jagged and "That I Would Be Good" and "Thank U" on Supposed testify to this.


"Keep that firm bod and I'll marry you," getting naked in the street and finally speaking the truth ... NEXT



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