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Article 35

Rock On

Alanis Morissette

(Published in Times of India, Pune on 2nd March, 2002)


W oman Power has seen enormous gains all over the world in the Nineties and there have been many women who have become super achievers in today's "dog eat dog" world. The world of Rock Music too has seen an insurgence of talent from the female sex. A viewing of the Grammies, a few days back could assure you of that! As women begin to explore their innate talents, they have been able to use the inherent qualities of freedom that Rock music offers, to reach new heights of excellence. Nobody could illustrate this point better than Alanis Morissette, the 28-year-old Canadian, the winner of 4 Grammy Awards and the lady who has the best-selling album by a female solo artist of all time.

Very people outside Canada know of Alanis's music career before her U.S. debut album "Jagged Little Pill" in early 1995. She was already a veteran by the age of 21 and in fact had won her first Juno Award (the Canadian equivalent of the Grammies) when she was just 10. However, her early dance music days could hardly be looked upon as the genesis that led to the Alanis of today. Her detractors talk about how she and her record company have effectively managed to suppress her earlier dance/pop albums; "Alanis", and "Now Is the Time", as that would ruin her 'alternative' image and disillusion her millions of followers. Nevertheless at age 21, with the release of her first album, Morissette had established herself in the USA as the musical voice of the fight for strength and self-realization.

Alanis wrote all the lyrics for this album and she collaborated with veteran Glen Ballard, famous for his work with Wilson Phillips. Glen handled the music and produced the album, which went on to be a fabulous hit all over the world and made a superstar of this young girl. Alanis became a role model to thousands of girls who identified with her edgy music and bare-all lyrics. She seemed to have the knack to say what others wanted to say but couldn't think of until it was too late.

1996 was the year of Alanis as she swept the Grammy Awards that year. She won four Grammy Awards that year. The "Best Rock Song" and "Best Female Rock Vocal Performance" for "You Oughta Know " and followed that with the "Best Rock Album" and "Album of the Year" award for "Jagged Little Pill". Alanismania was paramount that year and she sold more than 20 million records. To be called 'alternative' after that would be a sin as she was as 'mainstream' as Mariah Carey! Alanis however kept her unconventional image intact with her unusual unkempt appearance and eclectic behavior.

Unfortunately for her, the follow up album "Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie" did not match the sales of "Jagged Little Pill". To surpass the super success of a debut album of that caliber would indeed be a difficult task! Alanis has released her latest album just a few days back and with the huge American publicity machine once again in top gear, Alanis is back in the news. Called "Under Rug Swept" with the single "Hands Clean", Alanis is today all over the TV and Radio station of America promoting her latest 'baby'. Here's wishing Alanis the best of luck for the success of this latest venture. We sure need some fresh new music to lighten the despair that has engulfed the world after the September 11th tragedies. Rock On!

Nandu Bhende

http://nandu_bhende.tripod.com


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