Alanis Morissette is back and apparently ready to roar again.
On her 1995 debut, Jagged Little Pill, the singer vented the bitterness of a bad relationship into a platter of scathing songs that came across like angry diary entries. Three years and 12 million record sales later, Morissette shed her snarling tiger stripes and returned with Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, a moodier, more sedate offering that was also more musically mature, but it didn't resonate as well with the public.
Maybe that's why her new single, "Hands Clean," the first from her third record, Under Rug Swept, marks a return to the man-bashing Alanis the world originally fell for.
The song debuted Christmas Eve on German radio and is currently available in streaming audio on www.jumpradio.de. While "Hands Clean" sounds jangly and melodic, with warm, soaring vocals and glossy guitars that turn edgy only at the chorus, the lyrics are fairly biting, featuring many verses that flash back to abusive comments from a bad boyfriend: "You're such a pretty thing when you're done up properly/ I might want to marry you one day if you'd watch that weight and keep your firm body."
Most of the remarks are belittling and hurtful the kinds of things people sometimes say to feed their partner's insecurity. The target of Morissette's ire even tries to take credit for her professional accomplishments.
"If it weren't for my attention you wouldn't have been successful, and if it weren't for me you wouldn't have amounted to very much … / You're a kind of protégé, and one day you'll say you've learned all you know from me."
"Hands Clean" will go to radio at the end of January. A video for the song was directed by Francis Lawrence (Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys) (see "Alanis Morissette Wants You For Her New Video"). Under Rug Swept is due February 26 (see "Morissette Has Second New Album In Her Pocket"). A full tour is expected soon after.