in the Park
Grown up in p
From bubblegum teen star to multi-million selling adult artiste, Alanis Morissette has changed image completely. Alastair Mabbott listens to the growing pains.
I must have been hanging the washing out or returning a video when WEA launched the opening salvo in the marketing of Alanis Morissette. She turned out instead to be someone I got into through friends rather than press kits, preview cassettes and showcases. Speciﬁcally. it was through spending time with a woman who had just been unceremoniously dumped and consoled herself with regular playings of ‘You Oughta Know‘. There was such total identiﬁcation going on that the tension in the room built from Alanis’s whispered intro, cracking like a thunderclap at the lynchpin line ‘Are you thinking of me when you fuck her?’ - bellowed loud enough to drown out the record. Just watching the effect this song was having was all the proof you could need that it was coming from somewhere as real as any pop song ever did. It was easy to picture this scene being played out by spurned women right across the Western world.
That memory sparks off another. of an argument with a different friend. again female. and one who loved Jagged Little Pill. starting on the Gallowgate after Alanis‘s Barrowland gig. continuing along Argyle Street and ﬁnally winding up after ten minutes in a pub doorway.
‘The whole gig was just made for MTV,‘ she spat, 'just a total corporate trip. There was no spontaneity. no communication with the audience . . . I bet there‘s not one thing she said or did on stage tonight that she won’t do tomorrow or the next night.‘
I shot back something along the lines of ‘Why single her out? You could say that about every touring act on that level.’
‘Maybe so.‘ she said. ‘but I expect more from a woman.‘
Which all means what. other than that reservations may lurk about Alanis Morissette's live show in future. but ‘You Oughta Know’ is still the best put-down song since ‘You're So Vain' 1’ At the very least that what she’s singing and what she represents are not to be brushed aside easily. though some try, calling her rage trite and transparent.
The comparatively dodgy ‘lronic‘ is a bit ofa blight on the rest of her album, and as one stand—up comic was right to point out. problems like ‘rain on your wedding day/a traffic jam when you 're already late' are indeed a pain in the arse. but hardly ironic.
She herself is disarmineg happy to describe Jagged Little Pill as ‘self-indulgent’, in full knowledge that. like ‘pretentious‘, that’s not always an insult. It's a potent
AlanIs Morissette: more balls than most
ferment of emotions that is right for the times (‘lt is about expression. 1 think pan of the reason that a lot of other women are perceived as sort of controversial, hard, angry women is because it is our response to repressing that emotion for so long.'). Look at p0psters Scarlet, who, sensing the way the wind is blowing, have turned themselves into a blatant and laughable imitation. It‘s Canada, her home country. where they remember her for her children’s TV escapades and pop diva teens, that’s put up the greatest resistance to her adult incarnation. Isn’t it ironic? Actually, for once, it is.
Alanis Morissette plays the Main Stage on Sat 13.
even a death threat — but they don’t Insult us directly.’
They must have stirred up some reaction among their more purist supporters by signing, after one of the most frenzied bidding wars In recent record company history, a live-album deal - albeit with the Independent label Willie. ‘We were In a position where we couldn’t win whatever we did,’ Steven comments. But don’t the band teel they’ve bitten oti more than they can perhaps chew, committing themselves to so much alter a tew catchy, pointed manltestos? lie thinks not, pointing out that Bis have Issued close on twenty tracks in the past year or so, which Is an album’s worth anyway.
BIs do want to be heard, but they have It written Into their contract that they must never tall victim to the practices they condemn In “this Is Fake B.I.Y.’. So that’s no two-part co- sIngIes or any other tancy tonnat.
“the new Northern IIproar single was ottered to retailers on a two-tor-one basis, so that every single the retailer took they got another copy tree. And our single still entered the charts higher than theirs. It lust goes to show that these gimmicks are nonsense anyway. People will either want to buy a record or they won’t. they won’t lust go Ior what’s cheapest In the shopl’ (Alastair Mabbott)
Bls play the NME Stage on Sun 14.
It’s shocking to see the totally out-ot- proportlon hatred that Bis have managed to stir up. Currently, the letters pages at the music weeklles are crammed with the venomous rantings oi people who’d like the band to pay tor their crimes (whatever those may be) In a variety of horrible ways. ‘Yes,’ admits the band’s Sci-Fl Steven, ‘but at least there are an equal number or letters defending us too. Funnily enough, although we printed our address on the sleeve so that people could send away tor the lamina, we’ve not got a single piece ot negative mall. People write into the
music papers about us - there was
Bis: say no to corporate whoredom
Nicolette has come a long way in the
I past four years. From collaborations with proto- junglists Shut Up And Dance back in I992 to
I _ guesting on Massive Attack’s Protection, she has certainly chosen her career moves well. Now, with the release of her second album Let No One Live Rent Free In Your Head (Talkin Loud) which she describes as, ‘a meeting of hardcore dance and pop songs,’ she is riding high on a new wave of black British musicians somewhere between the sounds of Tricky, .lhelisa and Goldie.
Musically, this 31-year-old South Londoner doesn't ﬁt comfortably into any one category, which is very much her appeal. Listening to the album is like dipping into the best elements of black music from the last 30 years; she touches and contemporises everything from blues and jazz — which she cites as perhaps her main inﬂuences - to hip hop, house and jungle in very much the same . essentially modern and original way Tricky does.
Working with key ﬁgures on today's dance scene has certainly helped as well — those involved so far include frontline junglists like Dillinja, 4 Hero and Roni Size. No
suprise then, that she cites the drum ’n‘ bass movement as W one of the most exciting underground musical m but M et developments this country has seen in years, a sentiment black lute ha the backed by her ﬁrst album, the aptly-titled Now Is Early '8' 3° M
which mashed her angelic vocals over hectic beats at a time when the word jungle didn't even exist.
Expect a loose, organic set of dark and experimental modern dance music from a singer catapulting dance music into precious new dimensions. (Jim Byers) Nicolette plays the Dance Stage on Sun [4.
The List is Jun-ll Jul 199613