Isn't It Ironic?

updated 06/14/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/14/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT

She sings caustically, and openly, about weaselly boyfriends and bad breakups, but there is one listener Alanis Morissette worries about: Mom. "Every time a record comes out, I brace myself for her call," says Morissette. "She'll hear a song, then call me up and ask what really happened."

This time the phone may not ring. Her new Top 5 album, So-Called Chaos, has taken a decidedly softer turn. "This work is a perfect snapshot of my life right now," says Morissette, 30. "It's happy yet reflective and kind of self-deprecating." Her newfound harmony didn't come easy. Morissette had battled depression off and on since her days as a child star in Canada: "I cried a lot for reasons I didn't understand." After moving to L.A. at 19, she was prescribed antidepressants but turned to alternative therapies (primarily what she calls "integrative coaching"), which she says have helped control her moods. Her music too was "a fantastic way to vent," says Glen Ballard, who produced her breakthrough album, Jagged Little Pill, which has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. Now, says Morissette, "I allow myself to be angry and joyful, depressed and peaceful, weak and strong."

And that's inspired her to do some risk-taking. She began lopping off her waist-length hair in 2002 because she "got a little bored" and kept clipping until "I looked in the mirror and felt my stomach sour." She also moved in with her boyfriend, actor Ryan Reynolds, 27, whom she had met at Drew Barrymore's birthday party in 2002. "Being in a relationship that I think will potentially go the distance is making a pretty big difference in my life," says Morissette. "When I was growing up, I always wanted to be an adult. At 14, I felt and looked 30 in some ways. Now I feel like my emotions have finally caught up."

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