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Alanis Morissette - The Collection Review
by Shannon Taylor

Alanis Morissette suffered from one of the oldest curses in the music business - she burst onto the scene as a young, angry musician, had a phenomenally successful debut album, and subsequently failed to match or again reach the dizzying standards she set with Jagged Little Pill. Unsurprisingly, The Collection draws heavily from material from the Jagged Little Pill era, but still manages to give a general overview of Morissette's less than stellar career post 1995.

The Collection starts off with "Thank You" from the Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie" album On the one hand, the reasons for using "Thank You" as the opener are clear - it's basically Morissette giving the nod to her fans. However, it is clearly not one of the strongest songs of her career, as it is mainly remembered for Morissette's naked body in the film clip. The Collection then segues into one of Morissette's better songs, predictably from Jagged Little Pill; "Head Over Feet". It's now become quite the clichι to write Morissette off after Jagged Little Pill but it is obvious on a greatest hits collection such as this, where the songs are stacked up against each other in seemingly random order, that Jagged Little Pill contained a spark that was missing from Morissette's following releases. "8 Easy Steps" the next track from the album So Called Chaos is wrongly placed here because it has a very forced feel, as if Morissette is aiming to write another "angry chick" hit song. "Everything" is probably one of Morissette's better post-Jagged Little Pill songs as it has the distinct Alanis sound but still manages to sound fresh and original, without being contrived.

Morissette's cover of the hit Seal song "Crazy" feels somewhat reminiscent of Sheryl Crow's cover of the Guns n Roses classic "Sweet Child O' Mine". While the original song in Morissette's case is nowhere near as strong as "Sweet Child O' Mine", the execution of the song leaves the listener questioning what the point was in covering it. There seems to be no real passion, or emotion invested in the cover, it just feels bland and unnecessary, and Morissette's note-for-note rendition only seems to render the cover all the more pointless.

Over the next 5 songs, we are treated to three of the huge hits from Jagged Little Pill in "Ironic", "You Learn" and "You Oughta Know" - but again the songs sandwiched in between in "Princess Familiar" and "Simple Together" only seem to highlight that Morissette's best work was found on her debut album. However, "Hands Clean" from the album "Under Rug Swept" is a highlight on The Collection. It proves that Morissette can still write a catchy, radio-friendly song, and has the angry, jilted-lover edge that Morissette was made so famous for. This song seems more like a natural artistic progression from the Jagged Little Pill days to the present.

The album is rounded out with three contributions Morissette made to the soundtracks of the films "Dogma", "City of Angels" and "De-Lovely" - the songs are reasonable, but there is nothing about them that really stands out or justifies their inclusion on this greatest hits disc. Finally, "Hand In My Pocket" off Jagged Little Pill closes out the disc.

Throughout this review I have made many, perhaps unfair allusions to the superior quality of Jagged Little Pill over the rest of Morissette's career to date, but it is too often the case with this greatest hits collection. Morissette was understandably in a tough position with wondering what direction her career should take after such a phenomenally successful first album. The resulting music was not necessarily bad, and definitely not unlistenable - but the high standard Morissette set with Jagged Little Pill would inevitably overshadow the rest of her work. Overall, this is a good collection of songs, which is fairly indicative of Morissette's career, but it suffers from the sense of mediocrity and unused or ignored potential which has plagued Morissette since Jagged Little Pill.

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