Picks and Pans Review: So-Called Chaos

UPDATED 05/24/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/24/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

Alanis Morissette
POP-ROCK

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The angry Alanis doesn't live here anymore. Nearly 30, the Canadian singer-songwriter, who as a 21-year-old became the poster girl for bitter young women everywhere with 1995's fiery breakup anthem "You Oughta Know," has chilled out considerably on this satisfying follow-up to 2002's Under Rug Swept. On the key cut "This Grudge," a gripping ballad, Morissette even expresses her intention to let go of the animosity toward a former beau that she has carried for "14 years 30 minutes 15 seconds," in the process fueling 11 songs: "You've been vilified, used as fodder, you deserve a piece of every record." Elsewhere, she sings about the happiness that she has found with her current boyfriend, actor Ryan Reynolds, on the playful "Knees of My Bees," one of several tracks interweaving Middle Eastern textures, and the first single "Everything," a touching paean to total and unconditional love ("You see all my light and you love my dark"). While the kinder, gentler Morissette may have lost some of that Jagged Little Pill edge on Chaos, she is still a musical and lyrical force to be reckoned with.

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