ALANIS MORISSETTE Jagged Little Pill (Maverick/Reprise)

Sometimes even an old cynic like meself has to bow to popular opinion, and I’d be the first to admit that Alanis Morissette’s "You Oughta Know" is a splendid slice of vindictive revenge wish fulfilment worthy of any number of grizzled indie guitar groups (The Afghan Whigs with a subtlety bypass comes to mind). The album is a slightly different cher o’bowlies, though: ‘boasting’ the ‘talents’ of a few stray Red Hot Chilli Peppers, as well as (ex?) Heartbreaker Benmont Tench, it comes over as a little too AOR for these ears: certainly there’s a decent acreage of shuffly drum programs and alternately barbed and supportive lyrical observations, but it all seems a bit too safe: I heard "Forgiven" blaring from another flat the other day and was convinced I was listening to Shed Seven! When it’s good, for example "You Oughta Know", which appears here twice for almost no reason whatsoever, and the untitled acapella closer, Morrissette comes over as Liz Phair with even better tunes. When it’s average, it’s closer to Liz Phair with no tunes whatsoever.