All hail the queen of teen angst! The woman who always got the last laugh in her break-ups by stabbing them with her blatant, sharp lyrics, Alanis Morrisette comes back with her third American full-length release to tell us about wrong-doing lovers and general sessions of emotional outbursts.

How can one forget the power that “Jagged Little Pill” instilled in every troubled heart clutching the Walkman during recess. Her American debut not only skyrocketed her to super stardom but also set a standard for rock music.

“You Oughta Know” became the national anthem of heartbreak and “Ironic” showed us that no matter how many words there are in a lyric, Alanis can somehow manage to cram them all into one chorus. That, and how many ways something might seem like it should be ironic but really isn’t.

After her name became household, she faded and came back with the less-aggressive and complex “Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie,” which was a spiritual, more mature approach about life and its stakes.

“Junkie” garnered less success, but contained some of Morrisette’s most complete work such us the single “Thank U” and the incomparable “That I Would Be Good” ? which was also featured in her next release the live “Alanis Unplugged.”

Not too bad for the Ottawa-born singer who used to sing sweet pop of the Mandy Moore caliber back in the day.

This time Morrisette comes back with “Under Rug Swept,” which contains the new single “Hands Clean” ? a growing international favorite. However, the rest of the songs on this album do not carry the same lullaby sing-along feel.

Alanis hits hard with songs such as “Narcissus” ? a song that is basically a blame-rant at an egotist boy. “21 Things I Want In A Lover” is a dry opener with rigid lyrics.

Morrisette than delves into self-consciousness on “So Unsexy” ? which shows why she is a winning combination.

Her witty verbalization and gushing of words explains the most simple, yet indescribable feelings every human encounters.

What is different about this album is the fact that Alanis fully produced the whole record.

“Flinch” opens the conversational balladry that usually pops in an Alanis record.

The real melodic prize is in “You Owe Me Nothing In Return.” The song is good enough to be a single because of its catchiness, yet one can’t tell if she is being sarcastic in her words or not ? a filling treat.

The album closes with “Surrendering” and an intricately arranged optimistic ballad “Utopia” showing that Alanis is a true gem.

This album is not as angry and as straightforward as “Jagged Little Pill” nor is it as deep and dim as “Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie,” but it is a more refined and complete rock record. “Under Rug Swept” will not produce a lot of hit songs, but will still stand as one of the best records of the year.

Al-Qatami can be reached at

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