Feature

Alanis Morissette: Havoc and Bright Lights

Havoc and Bright Lights starts off well and shows signs of being a "truly superior pop album,” but halfway through it starts to feel formulaic.

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Alanis Morissette’s “most cohesive effort in years” finds the ’90s alt-rock star in a typically chatty mood, said Glenn Gamboa in Newsday. But because she’s mostly intent on describing the bliss of marriage and first-time motherhood, her eighth studio album is “far more focused than her recent musical walkabouts.” On the “gauzy” ballad “’Til You,” her testimony to love’s healing power is “delivered so tamely it makes Sarah McLachlan sound ferocious.” Despite such occasional treacliness, the record’s first half “offers the possibility that this might be a truly superior pop album,” said Bernard Perusse in MontrealGazette.com. “Guardian,” the opening track, “shows Morissette easily retaining her crown as Queen of the Big Soaring Chorus,” and the “next several songs keep the momentum going.” Then the big hooks start to feel formulaic and the melodies grow weaker. Morissette still presents herself as an envelope-pusher, but “musically, at least, no envelopes have been pushed at all.”

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