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Music review: Alanis Morissette dazzles on 9th album

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Alanis Morissette, “Such Pretty Forks in the Road" (Epiphany Music)

The piano is back. The voice is back. The angst is back.

A genre onto herself, Alanis Morissette comes out in force with her ninth studio album, “Such Pretty Forks In the Road,” where she untangles some of the thornier moments of her life since we’ve last heard from her in 2012. Postpartum depression, check. Management embezzlement, check. Music industry fatigue, check. Joy of motherhood, check.

Morissette’s creative companion, the piano, takes us on a journey that’s sometimes dramatic, sometimes somber, sometimes playful, sometimes wistful. But it’s the electric guitar riffs that add a sheen of nostalgia; “Ablaze” and “Sandbox Love” have that sound that perfectly encapsulates a CW show from the mid-aughts.

“Smiling” puts the rictus on the church organ and pulls off a ballad with a twist of register that rocks your rocks off. “Reasons I Drink” has that Billy Joel lilt but more acerbic lyrics about surviving in the music industry for so long, while the harried and troubled piano on “Reckoning” channels empowering anger. “Diagnosis” hits a nerve with its raw lyrics about struggling with postnatal depression.

Despite its unassuming musicality, the 11-track “Such Pretty Forks In the Road” dazzles with its simple comfort charms.

 

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