Alanis Morisette - Jagged Little Pill Acoustic

OK, so let's look at the facts. Alanis Morisette burst onto the scene in the mid nineties with an album that was to become one of the biggest sellers of the decade, and go on to shift over 30 million copies world wide to date. It became the biggest selling debut album by a female artist in the US, meanwhile here in the UK it spent 11 weeks at number 1 and clocked up 270 weeks in the chart. From it came a series of anthemic singles that would dominate radio play lists for years, some of which are regularly aired to this day. As a result she won so many awards that you could understand her using trophies as doorstops.

Since then things haven't been quite so meteoric. A handful of singles have done well, 'Thank You' and 'Everything' to name a couple, but in terms of album sales nothing has quite matched 'Jagged Little Pill'. So ten years on it's back, but with a twist.

With original producer Glenn Ballard overseeing the proceedings, we're presented with the full record but in a stripped down form. For a fan of the 1995 version it makes for interesting listening. Given that when songs are written they are, more often than not, composed acoustically, it is nice to be able to hear what one of the biggest selling records of the last decade might have sounded like in its early stages. It's worth pointing out though that this isn't a collection of demos, a digitally enhanced audio notebook, but an album that has been done from scratch, re-recording the songs.

I don't think it's a co-incidence that the highlights are the tracks that weren’t singles. This is because, unless it is an album you listen to on a regular basis, you are in effect discovering new work rather than hearing familiar music presented in an unfamiliar way. In the case of those that are more famous, 'You Oughta Know', 'Hand in my Pocket', 'You Learn' and so on, it is hard to listen to them without thinking that they were better in their heavier form. There are exceptions to this, 'Ironic' isn't remarkably different and is well suited to this treatment being semi acoustic on the original record. 'Head Over Feet' although obviously stripped down from the full electro version, does retain elements of it's well rounded sound and doesn't appear to be missing anything, something which is inevitable with the other major hits. Of the album tracks the ones that particularly shine are 'All I Really Want' and 'Not the Doctor', the former was a feisty rock album opener and retains some of these qualities whilst in a more melodic form. Although this is an album that is billed as acoustic, the piano and strings are as prominent as the guitar, which lessens the impact of any aggression that the rock version had.

If you don't own a copy of the original, or no anyone that does, firstly double check, as you must know somebody who does, given the amount it sold. If after all that you still don't, and think you might like it, then as a straight choice between the two it's a no brainier, after all if you look hard enough you'll find the nineties version of 'Jagged Little Pill' in a three for twenty offer sooner or later. For me the acoustic offering has the air of being one for the die hards, not that there's anything wrong with that. It can often be difficult to second-guess music fans and for this reason it will be interesting to see how this album is received, this updated version is well worth a listen, even just for the curiosity factor.