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CD Reviews: Alanis Morissette
Alanis Morissette: Under Rug Swept
September 2002
By: Lauren Jonik (
album cover of Alanis Morissette's Under Rug Swept

While many artists use their work to define themselves, truly great creative minds strive to remain undefinable--- ever open to whatever paths their own evolution and growth will lead them to. As some critics were content to label Alanis Morissette as "the angry young woman" on the heels of the success of Jagged Little Pill, she was exploring her own stillness and spirituality--- themes reflected on Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, released in 1998 on Maverick Records. Her most recent offering, Under Rug Swept, came into the world in February 2002, and once again demonstrated her commitment to artistic openness and musical development.

Taking her involvement to a new level, Alanis self-produced the eleven tracks on the album and invited several notable guests to join her. While Meshell Ndege'Ocello played bass on So Unsexy and You Owe Me Nothing In Return, Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers added the bass on Narcissus. Stone Temple Pilots' Dean Deleo contributed to the guitar parts on Precious Illusions and 21 Things I Want In A Lover.

On Under Rug Swept, Alanis Morissette continues to explore her gift for unique lyrical phrasing, as evidenced in That Particular Time. "I've always wanted for you, What you've wanted for yourself, And yet I wanted to save us high water or hell." Hands Clean, the first single from which the album's title was mined, tells the tale of lovers who view the same relationship differently in hindsight. "What part of our history's reinvented and under rug swept? What part of your memory is selective and tends to forget?" Precious Illusions, the second single released, is a daring admission of making a conscious decision to grow beyond the things that hold us back within ourselves once the realization dawns that they no longer serve our true well-being. "But this won't work as well as it once did, Cuz I want to decide between survival and bliss, And though I know who I am not, I still don't know who I am, But I know I won't keep playing the victim."

Perhaps, the album's most powerful and beautiful truth is given in You Owe Me Nothing In Return. "You owe me nothing in return for the love that I give, You owe me nothing in return for the caring I have, I give you thanks for receiving, it's my privilege, And you owe me nothing in return." Often, the best gifts we offer or receive are those attached only with freedom.