Last Night: Alanis Morissette at Bayou Music Center
Alanis Morissette has come a long way since her 1995 breakthrough album, Jagged Little Pill. When recording it, she was pissed off, a bit confused and completely unapologetic about all of it. The album became a rallying cry for young women who were looking for some substance and lyricism to go with their pop-rock, and was reimagined as an acoustic album, ten years after. Even Rolling Stone has recognized its influence, listing it as one of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
But that was nearly 20 years ago. These days, Morissette is in a different place, and a much happier one. She doesn't claim to have it all figured out, but instead of bashing old boyfriends and flaunting her feminism, Morissette is happily married and focusing on being a mom.
In fact, whenever Morissette performed older hits like "You Oughta Know" and "Hand in My Pocket" Sunday at Bayou Music Center, she had this smile on her face that seemed euphoric. It was as if she just didn't feel those emotions anymore, and while she was clearly having a great time onstage and wanted to do right by her fans, she just didn't look bitter, resentful or even the least bit angry when she performed. And that's probably a good thing.
Morissette, who has come out as an advocate of "attachment parenting" (a concept that escapes me, but seems to be a hot-button issue), brought both her husband, rapper MC Souleye, and two-year-old son, Ever, on tour with her. The latter of the two remained backstage for the show, but Souleye took to the stage just before his wife, performing for about 45 minutes in front of a crowd that was partly confused and partly uninterested.
There did seem to be a few fans of the Canadian MC in the crowd, but no one seemed too interested in his performance until near the end, when Morissette came out to sing the chorus of "My Ego."
Other than when she was introducing the band members, Morissette didn't talk much while she was onstage. She threw up a bunch of peace signs and held the microphone out over the crowd, who helped her sing "Ironic," arguably her second-best-known single. But even that one wasn't without a little added flair.
"It's like 10,000 spoons, when all you need is a knife," Morissette crooned, halfway through her performance. "It's meeting the man of my dreams and then meeting his beautiful...Husband."
Just then, the bassist put down his bass, walked over to the guitarist and gave him a big hug (and a smooch, if I saw correctly) as the crowd cheered. I'm not sure what that was all about, but it sure got a rise out of the fans.
Morissette's new music draws a stark contrast to the songs that made her a star, but that's okay. Judging by their faces, the people in the crowd -- a number of twenty- and thirtysomethings -- weren't angry anymore either.
So while Pill may be worth revisiting and reminiscing over, perhaps both Morissette and her fans are better spending their time listening to "Guardian," even if it doesn't have quite the bite that made her music so appealing in the first place.
Personal Bias: For all the songs she's written about heartbreak, Morissette has always managed to make even the saddest of her songs feel empowering. She's never been one to roll over, cry and give up. Instead, she turns her memories into weapons and made men think twice about doing wrong by her, while giving her fans an outlet to vent their frustrations while celebrating their strength as women. And I likes me a strong woman, yes sir.