Tuesday, October 22, 2013

10,000 Supposedly Blind Former Infatuation Junkies at the Zoo

Two intriguing (honest/startling/disturbing? I don't know, I'm just starting) albums that I am REALLY late to the party about..
but thanks to Rasputin's
25 cent sale, I can now catch up on:

1)10,000 Maniacs, "Blind Man's Zoo"
“At 10,000 Maniacs point of greatest professional optimism, ‘Blind Man’s Zoo’ is a starkly pessimistic statement.”
Rolling Stone, 1989
“Natalie Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs brings a powerful new voice and perspective to the role of the singer-songwriter with a social conscience.”
Rolling Stone, 1989
“10,000 Maniacs new album ‘Blind Man’s Zoo’ has a harder edge than the previous recordings – the toe-tapping music and topical lyrics make you feel like a peppy, concerned citizen.”
The New Yorker, 1989
“Combining arty mysticism and frank social consciousness, 10,000 Maniacs have become the populist radicals they set out to be.”
Vogue, 1989


2)Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie  by Alanis Morissette 

When Alanis Morissette visited Mother India in 1997, she gained new composure and, in a state of numinous bliss, wrote 17 songs for Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, each suffused with the search for enlightenment and self-knowledge. To the likely dismay of many fans, Morissette now rages at herself. But this long-awaited follow-up to 1995's record-smashing Jagged Little Pill is far from a disappointment. Imbued with dark, swirling psychedelic licks borrowed from Jimmy Page's song book, the disc is paradoxically both more enigmatic and revealing than Pill. And while Junkieshows that Morissette is no less stingy about revealing herself to her fans--her staccato stream-of-consciousness style is again employed to surrender her secrets and foibles a little too easily in these tales of abuse, lost love, and self-flagellation--Junkie also makes one wonder what this musical sphinx holds back. In "Baba" she takes on competitive spirituality, sneering at the fashionable grasp for enlightenment. "Would Not Come" returns to a similar theme--taking us on a tour of her diary. "Would Not Come" and "Your House" offer the only hints of sexual innuendo. The only revenge she wreaks on an errant lover is in the percussive "Are You Still Mad," this time dishing up a much subtler payback than on "You Oughta Know." The record's standouts, meanwhile, are "Thank U" and the hip-poppy "So Pure." One complaint (and there is only one): Morissette's rapid-fire wordplay is at times engulfed by ponderous instrumentation. The worldbeat rhythms and elaborate guitar play add fresh twists to the album, but they also sometimes bury her message. --Jaan Uhelszki
When Alanis Morissette released her breakthrough album in 1995, "Jagged Little Pill," practically the whole world stopped and watched this angst-ridden vixen whine to us. The album, in other words, was a phenomenal success. It sold near to 30 million units worldwide, and topped the UK album charts for 21 weeks over the course of two years while spawning some massive international hit singles. Three years passed between the release of this masterpiece, and expectations were extremely high for the follow up. It arrived in November 1998, and was titled "Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie."
So did it impress the public? Well, no. The album sold a mere 7 million copies - a significant drop from the previous release, but the fact remains that here we have a truly classic record. While Jagged Little Pill often lashed out in an angry state, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie is more about reconciliation - with her lovers, friends, parents, and with herself.
The album opens with the amazing two songs "Front Row" and "Baba." The former is an excellent opener, and an album highlight. The song has a catchy beat and some very thought-provoking lyrics, with a brilliant chorus which really hightens your spirits. The latter is an even better song, in which Alanis sings about the stupid cult followings that gather to connect with so-called higher spirits and other-worldy beings. "I've seen them coming to line up from Switzerland and America," she sings in an angry vocal attack. The beat is crunky and rusty, and this gives off an old and grand rock feel. The final minute of the song consists of Alanis wailing "Ave Maria" constantly, to stunning effect. "Thank U," the album's lead single, is one of Alanis' personal favourites. Alanis thanks things in her life that have being a constant form of intelligence and support. "Thank you India, thank you terror, thank you disillusionment" sings Alanis while a breath-taking beat swirls in the background. "Are You Still Mad" is a wonderful acoustic song in which Alanis' vocals shine brightly, as she tells an ex-lover to get over his complaining. In "Sympathetic Character," Alanis rips her heart out and smears it all over a canvas, creating an instantly classic indie anthem. The song has some very strange twists and lyrics, coupled with excellent and unique beats.
"That I Would Be Good" is the album's chill-out track. Alanis talks about how she would react if she lost all her fame and wealth. Her vocals are again on top form, and a wind instrument plays the song out in fine form. "The Couch" is five and a half minutes of pure brilliance. The song is performed in a stream-of-consciousness style, and this can be seen on the lyrics on the inside of the sleeve. Eight paragraphs of lyrical bliss about her father dominate the song, and the beat grows ever more dominant with each of the paragraphs. The lyrics are just perfect, and the tribal beat is truly spooky at times. Amazing - the best song on the album.
"Can't Not" and "UR" are yet more gems. The former is a mid-tempo composition with yet more excellent lyrics and wonderful sounds - on this song, the beat sounds like two pieces of wood bashing together slowly. Strange, yes. Awful, no. In the latter Alanis chills out, letting us in on her feelings about a particular person. "I Was Hoping" is another stream-of-consciousness style song in which Alanis sings in a fast vocal tone. Her vocals are good, and she sings them fast as if she is trying to force them out. Very good and original. "One" is another fantastic song. "I am the biggest hypocrite, I've been undeniably jealous" cries Alanis in a voice filled with emotion. The beat is sad and sorrowful, and this adds further to the dark and moody feel to the album.
"Would Not Come" is a wonderful song. Alanis' vocals seem very forced in an evil cackling tone. "If I make a lot of tinsel then people will want to, if I am hardened no fear of further abandonment," she sings before a wonderful chorus, which is followed up by a stunningly catchy rock solo. "Unsent" is the most original and unique song on the album. Alanis sings to five ex-lovers separately (Matthew/Jonathan/Terrance/Marcus/Lou) about all the good times they shared, and some of the bad. It's done wonderfully, and you get something new out of it everytime you listen to it. "So Pure" is the shortest cut on the album, and it's an excellent psychedelic song whipped into a flurry of funky beats and unique lyrics.
"Joining You" is, without a word of a lie, undoubtedly one of the best songs you will ever hear. Alanis sings about a close friend who committed suicide, and Alanis is saying that she would be joining them if they were both our bodies/futures/culture/leaders etc. The verses are low and depressing, but the chorus is an uplifting masterpiece. It sounds strange, but it's not. "Heart Of The House" is yet another excellent song. Alanis sings of her past with her much-loved mother in an extremely high pitched vocal tone, especially on the chorus where some words are hard to understand because of her emotions. "Your Congratulations" is the final song on the album, and what a disappointment. Seventeen songs, and sixteen are all stunning, amazing, wonderful works of art - but this last song? No!
Jagged Little Pill still remains my favourite Alanis album (and my favourite record ever), but Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie comes a very close second. When I first listened to this album, I really did hate it, but after I had listened about five times, I knew it was a brilliant album and one of my favourite albums ever. People say that if you loved 'Jagged' you'll hate 'Supposed,' but I really don't. Both albums are classics, and no one can deny that. Alanis is one of the greatest female artists ever, and she has had such an impact on my life. Just think of all these talentless Alanis-wannabes around today like Avril Lavigne and compare them to Alanis, the true queen of rock. The difference shines brighter than any other comparison in the music industry.  link

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