- Under Rug Swept
Infobox Album | Name = Under Rug Swept
February 25, 2002( UK) February 26, 2002(U.S.)
Recorded = Great Big Music, Dog House Studios, Westlake Battery, Royaltone Studios, Larrabee North
Pop rock, Pop, Alternative rock
Length = 55:28
Label = Maverick, Warner Bros.
Producer = Alanis Morissette
Allmusicrating|3.5|5 [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=A2je67uy020jh link]
Robert Christgau(A-) [http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?id=26&name=Alanis+Morissette link]
*"Q" rating|4|5 [http://www.q4music.com/nav?page=q4music.artist.review&fixture_review=139433&fixture_artist=142190 February 2002]
Pitchfork Mediarating|8.4|10 [April Fools' Day issue] [http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/record_review/20034-under-rug-swept link]
Rolling Stone" rating|3|5 [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/alanismorissette/albums/album/240512/review/5944461/under_rug_swept March 14, 2002]
Last album = "MTV Unplugged" (1999)
This album = "Under Rug Swept" (2002)
Next album = "
Feast on Scraps" (2002)
"Under Rug Swept" is the sixth
album(fifth studio album) by Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette. Released by Maverick Recordsin the United States on February 26, 2002and in the United Kingdom a day earlier (see 2002 in music), it was the first album Morissette had written and produced on her own. It debuted at number one on charts in twelve countries, including Canada, and produced the singles " Hands Clean" and " Precious Illusions". Sales, however, did not match those of Morissette's previous two studio albums.
Morissette has said that during the writing and recording of the album, she noticed a unifying theme emerging of "the desire to mend unions and bridge gaps. Whether it be between genders or between human beings, between spirits."van der Kooy, Dan and Cook, Shanon. [http://archives.cnn.com/2002/SHOWBIZ/Music/07/05/mroom.alanis.morissette/index.html "Alanis not about to be swept under the rug"] .
CNN. July 5, 2002. Retrieved April 5, 2002.] She said that when she began working on the album, she was at "the middle of the beginning of the end of a relationship", and that entering the studio and writing new material "would propel me to face some of the truths that were scaring me. Inevitably, we ended up breaking up, so the record kind of followed the grieving of it, then the proverbial phoenix rising and continuing to grow." "Under Rug Swept" was also influenced by the extensive travelling Morissette did between recording sessions, particularly her stay at a Navajo reservation: "The sense of community the Navajo peoplereally focus on, there's a similar sense of community I felt when I traveled, when we toured through the Middle East", she explained. "It permeates what I yearn for and I try to create it as best as I can through the songs". She described the album as melodically and sonically "more structured" than her previous album, " Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie" (1998).Sullivan, Kate. [http://www.istnet.net.au/~cawdor/article30.html "Well Rounded Little Pill"] . "Spin". March 2002. Retrieved April 5, 2007.]
The first track, "21 Things I Want in a Lover", features Morissette listing the qualities she looks for in a partner. "There's a part of this song where I'm joking, but there's a whole part of this song where I'm dead serious", she said. "Because the palm sweating, heart palpitating beginnings of a relationship often result in a huge amount of incompatibility, so the concept of compatibility is so much more important to me as I get older." [http://www.msopr.com/mso/morissette-cutbycut.html "Alanis Morissette talks about songs from 'Under Rug Swept'"] . MSO. Retrieved
April 5, 2007.] "Narcissus" describes, as Morissette puts it, "that dichotomy of loving someone and really wanting it to work and wanting to bridge the gap and bridge the chasm and, yet at the same time, being totally repulsed by the qualities that are being presented and the pain that comes from it." She said the intention of writing " Hands Clean" was "to get to a place where I could be as truthful and as honest as I possibly could be about certain relationships in my past ... oftentimes I feel by not speaking the truth, by being silent, there's an element of an untruth in that ... [it] sometimes can feel just as horrible as a lie to me."
"Flinch", the fourth track, was written about an experience Morissette had during which she almost ran into a man who had a profound effect on her: "I was surprised at how many years had past but still I was responding to the situation as though I had been spending time with him two minutes earlier ... I do believe that I will be able to get to a point where hearing his name or even running into him or hearing from him won't trigger me as much as it did and still does." With "
So Unsexy", Morissette said she was "really trying to get into the underbelly of some of my insecurities and why little tiny things that are innocuous and inconsequential are translated in my own mind as to be taken so personally ... as long as I have my own back, it's not as scary and it's not as horrifying." In " Precious Illusions" she discusses "the difference between really being alive and really embracing the reason why I'm here on this earth versus my just being asleep and sleep walking and accepting the status quo and accepting somewhat of a suffering mentality to being here. It really is my responsibility to distinguish the difference between the two and choose which one I want."
Track seven on the album, "That Particular Time", documents a breakup and "the three distinct chapters in the relationship" Morissette was going through. " [Love] took many different forms, and I was beating myself up for a long time for being in a relationship that just didn't feel right", she said. "But then I realized that it was a very loving act for me to stick it out for a minute or two to really kind of see whether there was something worth continuing to explore in a romantic way." She said of "A Man", which is written from a male point-of-view as a response to "Narcissus", "For once I try to feel a bit of empathy and to imagine how it feels being a man in these confusing times ... I try to react as an honourable man to the vibes of erroneous machos who are damaging the image of my sex." ["
HUMO". March 2002.] "You Owe Me Nothing in Return" is, in Morissette's words, "about the real definition of what love is ... wanting for someone that you love what they want for themselves. And at the same time not sacrificing my own life and my thoughts and my own beliefs. Supporting someone in their choices and at the same time being able to express what mine are, even if they differ, is the ultimate healthy, loving interaction."
The tenth and penultimate track, "Surrendering", was the last song Morissette wrote for the album. According to her, it is "about the gratitude that I feel for someone tapping into the courage that it takes to allow themselves to be loved and to drop the defenses and fears ... And how thrilling it is for me to be able to be let in that kind of way ... It's a very peaceful, joyful song". Morissette considers "Utopia" a summary of the feminine and masculine elements in the relationship chronicled in the album: "For me, it's like they're sitting together in the same car and are finally driving down the same road in the same direction and there's a meeting of both worlds." She said that when she wrote it, she knew it would be the last track.
Morissette wrote several political songs such as "Awakening Americans" and "Symptoms" during the making of the album, but she decided not to include such material in spite of an online petition lobbying for their release. Morissette said she doesn't "resonate" with overtly political songs because they are "removed too much" from her personal experiences: "I love sitting up at two in the morning talking religion, but when it comes to my songs, it's just rambling, soapbox, obnoxious", she said. ("Awakening Americans" and "Symptoms" were released as
Background and production
Before recording of the album began, when she hadn't written songs or journal entries for nine months, Morissette went to
Torontonot knowing whether she was going to write songs herself or with someone else. In the first week of her stay she had written seven songs alone, and she described the writing process as "really fast and accelerated". As on her previous albums, Morissette took a stream-of-consciousness approach to the songwriting. She wrote the music and lyrics at the same time, spending around twenty minutes or less on each song, and recorded the vocals during the writing process, in one or two takes. "I really wanted to make sure that I wrote in the studio so that, while I was writing, I could be singing it at the same time", she said.Stringer, Jeffrey. [http://www.4alanis.com/newssearch/index.php?selected=3&idn=164 "She's Only Human: An Interview with Alanis Morissette"] . Borders Group. March 4, 2002. Retrieved April 5, 2007.] According to Morissette, she had a "little space station" with a keyboard, an acoustic, an electric, her journal and a microphone set up, and everything was recorded onto DAT.Vineyard, Jennifer. [http://www.mtv.com/bands/m/morissette_alanis/news_feature_011802/ "Alanis Morissette: The Silence Is Over"] . MTV News. January 31, 2002. Retrieved January 28, 2007.] Morissette had not planned to produce an album on her own, saying "It was just a matter of when it would happen organically". She "kept things from becoming overwhelming" by refraining from cross-connecting her producing, songwriting and performing duties.Flick, Larry. "Alanis Excels On Her Own". "Billboard". January 19, 2002, vol. 114, iss. 3, pg. 1.]
Production of the album was delayed when Morissette became involved in disputes with executives at Maverick Records after she testified at
U.S. Governmenthearings against artist-unfriendly record contract practices. As she put it, she had to go through lawyers to "have a dialogue with people" and take extended period of time to "have one little thing figured out". Because she was accustomed to having the producers on her albums act as "the buffer to the outside world" during recording, she found it a challenge to handle the situation on her own. "I was trying to be isolated enough to tap into my artistry while keeping people at bay who don't know fuck all about nurturance", she said. Eventually, it became "too much" for Morissette and she took negotiations into her own hands, which meant she had to halt her work on the album: "I had to be willing to throw the record away and not ever release it."
Despite the relatively low sales of Morissette's previous two albums, "Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie" and "MTV Unplugged" (1999), compared to those of her international debut album, "
Jagged Little Pill" (1995), Maverick Records considered her a strong commercial asset and were concerned that she would leave because of the disputes and release the album on another label. For a time Morissette was threatening to leave Maverick (according to " Entertainment Weekly"), until label founder Madonna intervened and persuaded her to stay.Reese, Lori. [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,130763,00.html "You Oughta Know"] . " Entertainment Weekly". June 15, 2001. Retrieved January 28, 2007.] During the delay, Morissette brought in musicians such as bassists Eric Avery(formerly of Jane's Addiction) and Flea (of Red Hot Chili Peppers), Dean DeLeo(guitarist for Stone Temple Pilots) and Me'shell Ndegeocelloto play on the album. After this period, in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, she previewed the track "Utopia" on her website. [vanHorn, Terri. [http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1451244/20011129/morissette_alanis.jhtml?headlines=true#/news/articles/1449196/20010925/morissette_alanis.jhtml "New Alanis Album In February; New Song Online Now"] . MTV News. September 25, 2001. Retrieved January 28, 2007.]
During the making of the album, Morissette wrote twenty-seven songs, which she eventually narrowed down to seventeen. When she was mixing and producing the album, every time she reached the eleventh track she, as she put it, "would shut down. My brain would shut off and I just felt like it was information overload ... I didn't want to overwhelm myself or anyone else in the process of trying to cram them all onto the double CD." [Stevenson, Jane. [http://www.calgarysun.com/perl-bin/niveau2.cgi?s=musique&p=67322.html&a=1 "From one 'IT' girl to another"] . "
Calgary Sun". December 12, 2002. Retrieved April 5, 2007.] She planned for several of the excluded songs to be released as single B-sides or on a separate EP to be released after the album; eight of them were released on a CD/DVD package, " Feast on Scraps", released in late 2002. "I just could not face the idea of letting all of these songs go", she had said. "They're all precious to me. It's just a matter of finding the right framework in which to share them with the world."
Reviews of "Under Rug Swept" on its release were generally positive. [ [http://www.metacritic.com/music/artists/morissettealanis/underrugswept "Under Rug Swept by Alanis Morissette"] .
Metacritic. Retrieved January 28, 2007.] "Billboard" described the album as "supreme" and "very human ... [it] satisfies with moments of darkness, enlightenment, anger, bittersweet tension, and happiness ... Although 2002 is still young, consider "Under Rug Swept" one of the year's best." ["Album Reviews". "Billboard". March 2, 2002. Retrieved January 28, 2007.] "Q" magazine said the album was "a smart shot across the bows ... some of the most inviting music of her career ... Morissette has fashioned a lyrical Trojan Horseto be wheeled into unsuspecting homes for months to come." [Blake, Mark. [http://web.archive.org/web/20041101014920/http://www.q4music.com/nav?page=q4music.artist.review&fixture_review=139433&fixture_artist=142190 "Review - Alanis Morissette: Under Rug Swept"] . "Q". February 2002. Retrieved January 28, 2007from the Wayback Machine.] Robert Christgauwrote, "The pop-rockhere lacks the faux-punk edge [on "Jagged Little Pill"] ... But Morissette instantly demonstrates her gift for the catchy ... topping memorable verse with indelible chorus, she's a self-actualized nut who goes for what she wants, exactly as pretentious as the college girls she represents for." [Christgau, Robert. [http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?id=26&name=Alanis+Morissette "Alanis Morissette"] . robertchristgau.com. Retrieved January 28, 2007.] According to " LA Weekly", the album "is Alanis Morissette in top form, exercising her God-given right to vent and sound beautiful doing so." [Lewis, Miles Marshall. [http://www.laweekly.com/music/music-reviews/cool-schmool/10621/ "Music Reviews"] . " LA Weekly". March 13, 2002. Retrieved January 28, 2007.]
Other critical appraisals were less favorable. "
Rolling Stone", in a three-star review, wrote "The music is brawny and meticulous ... [but] "Under Rug Swept" just about drowns in psychobabble. While the tone of the songs, and the grain of Morissette's voice, promise intimacy, there's hardly a private detail anywhere." [Pareles, Jon. [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/alanismorissette/albums/album/240512/review/5944461/under_rug_swept "Alanis Morissette - Under Rug Swept"] . " Rolling Stone". March 14, 2002, RS 891. Retrieved January 28, 2007.] " Entertainment Weekly" said "the album's garbled title is also preparation for some of the clumsiest lyrics to be heard on a pop record in years ... The songs are riddled with such overwritten Psych 101 ruminations." [Browne, David. [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,212552~4~0~underrugswept,00.html "ReviewUnder Rug Swept (2002)"] . " Entertainment Weekly". February 25, 2002. Retrieved January 28, 2007.] " The Village Voice" criticised the lyrics, saying "Much like even non-football fans used to be mesmerized by [Howard Cosell| [Howard] Cosell] 's genius for never using two words when 23 would do, you don't have to be a love-damaged 17-year-old girl to find "Under Rug Swept"'s dense verbiage a trip. Words tumble forth and arrange themselves kaleidoscopically into all sorts of unusual categories ... I'm just not sure that pop music should come out of a thesaurus." [Dellio, Phil. [http://www.villagevoice.com/music/0211,dellio,33009,22.html "Thesaurus in My Pocket"] . " The Village Voice". March 13– March 19, 2002. Retrieved January 28, 2007.] " NME" called it "a tedious album" with "overwrought folk-rocklike 'Surrendering' and 'Hands Clean' destined for a thousand organic juice bars. Lyrically, it's often hilarious ... This record moves way beyond armchair psychology — in fact, there are armchairs that have a cannier grasp of the mind." [Segal, Victoria. [http://www.nme.com/reviews/alanis-morissette/6125 "Morissette, Alanis : Under Rug Swept"] . " NME". Retrieved January 28, 2007.]
"Under Rug Swept" received a
Juno Awardnomination in the category of "Pop Album of the Year", which it lost to Avril Lavigne's "Let Go". Morissette herself won the " Jack Richardson Producer of the Year" award for the songs "Hands Clean" and "So Unsexy", and she was nominated in the "Artist of the Year" category. [ [http://theenvelope.latimes.com/extras/lostmind/year/2002/2002junob.htm "2002 33rd Juno Awards"] . " Los Angeles Times". Retrieved January 28, 2007.] (For more information, see Juno Awards of 2003.)
Chart performance and promotion
"Under Rug Swept" was closely guarded before its release: for journalists to listen to it, they had to be invited to Maverick Records headquarters and listen to a single play copy in a special listening room. [http://www.istnet.net.au/~cawdor/article39.html "Alanis Morissette - Swept Up"] . "Chart". March 2002, no. 134. Retrieved
April 5, 2007.] In July 2001 Geoff Mayfield of "Billboard" was quoted as saying that because of the popularity of artists such as Radioheadand Staind, it was a "good year for rock ... It's not just one kind of rock that's connecting right now — the palette is varied. For an artist [such as Morissette] who comes from rock, this could be a fertile time." Other industry insiders said it may become a commercial return to form for Morisette; "The Record" noted Morissette's age- and gender-transcendent appeal, the "smart" lyrics on the album and the appropriateness of its "soulful introspection and spiritual awareness" in a post- 9/11society, and how Morissette "stands out from everyone else on radio ... there are few artists addressing relationships in a serious way, especially from a female point of view." [Rubinoff, Joel. "Sad little Alanis is now mighty female role model". "The Record". February 22, 2002.]
*Unknown (2002). In "Under Rug Swept" [CD liner notes] . United States:
* [http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/retrieve_chart_history.do?model.vnuArtistId=121494&model.vnuAlbumId=722607 "Alanis Morissette - Artist Chart History"] . "Billboard". Retrieved
December 5, 2006.
* [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:oad8vwmta9lk~T51 "Alanis Morissette - Billboard Singles"] . "Billboard" and
Allmusic. Retrieved December 5, 2006.
* [http://www.mariah-charts.com/chartdata/PAlanisMorissette.htm "Alanis Morissette"] . Mariah-charts.com. Retrieved
December 1, 2006.
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