Alanis fans unite! Havoc and Bright Lights is her first album in four years!
This is a much different Alanis from her Jagged Little Pill days. And I seriously debated on whether I should even mention the album that she's most known for in this post. I think critics expect something as poignant as Jagged Little Pill each time she releases new music. Well, folks. Those days are far away. She's grown up now and has experienced a lot more joy in her life as a wife and mother... and it shows.
She announces the joys of motherhood right out of the gate on her first single, "Guardian." I'll be your angel on call, I'll be on demand / The greatest honor of all, as your guardian. Equally as sweet is "Til You," a love letter to her husband, and "Empathy" which is a wonderful piano ballad. Thank you for seeing me, I feel so less lonely / Thank you for getting me, I’m healed by your empathy.
But among the bright lights, there is plenty of havoc on the album as well. What I love about her writing is when she feels strongly about something, she lets us have it in full force. "Woman Down" is a plea for the end of mistreatment towards women. She sings about the pursuit of fame and fortune and offers a warning in "Celebrity." And addresses the cost of suppressing one's nature in the very Evanescence-like "Numb." I think that might be my favorite track.
I found this interview quote by her, and I just love it. "I'm a Gemini by trade, so I'm obsessed with wholeness. I don't want to be good, I want to be whole. I love the dark because it's alluring to me. The light is alluring and scary, too. I will always explore both sides, I can't help myself." I'm also a Gemini, and I totally get what's she's saying. It's a daily struggle to find the right balance between the dark and the light.
And that's what you'll find on this album; a heaping helping of both dark and light, havoc and bright lights. I love the title of the album after having listened to it. Expect a wide range of emotions that work really well together. You can tell through her songs that she is in a content place both in her personal and professional lives. Balance achieved.