Streaming Now: Alanis Morrisette – Uninvited

So there I was, in the record shop spending money and chatting with the owner, as one does, when in the corner of my ear I heard a familiar song. Half talking, half listening to the conversation, mostly trying to recognize what I was hearing, this other guy says, “Hey isn’t this off that movie soundtrack?” I considered him for a moment and then it hit me.

It was Uninvited by Alanis.

I don’t have any of her music in my catalog. I never really considered myself a fan in the same way that I might be of other musicians I keep in regular rotation. That said, I’ll be the first to tell you that she is an undeniable, massively talented musician, who has created soul reaching music for millions of people over the last two and a half decades. You can’t argue that. We could fight about it. But you’d lose, so let’s just skip it and get on the same page. I have a tremendous amount of respect for her as a human and musician. Most of the time it’s just not my thing.

But this song. I absolutely love this song. I love the open space. How she fills it with her vocals. Almost floating. A solitary piano intro that lays down what will be a theme throughout the song. Quiet drums lingering in the background. Then the slow build. With a snare hit comes the weight of this piece. Drums and bass enter in with authority backed by strings. And then there’s Alanis. Exploring the corners of her range from soft and sweet to nearly a scream.

I don’t think you unworthy. I need a moment to deliberate.

Silence. A fleeting moment of quiet tension.

Like a slap to the face the music returns. Releasing the tension she just created a moment before. Heavy drums, the guitar soloing just in the background, bass and strings in support. Then, it fades away. Almost too soon.

Chills man. Chills.

This song is a masterpiece.

4 Comments

  1. I haven’t heard this song in ages but looked it up and gave it a listen before writing this. Personal reservations with the term ‘masterpiece’ aside, I’d agree with you about this song. The orchestration and vocal double tracking are flawless.

    I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of Morissette, but I have an immense amount of respect for her abilities. I don’t give her much thought usually, but I was recently watching something using one of her songs and it made me dig out that album (Jagged Little Pill) and give it a listen… Good stuff. I’d definitely argue she has earned her place in pop music history.

    1. Yeah man. It’s a bold statement for sure. We generally reserve the term ‘masterpiece’ for works like Mozart’s Magic Flute, Coltrane’s A Love Supreme,, Beethoven’s 9th, Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue etc., so to label a pop song with it might be a stretch. I standby it though. I feel like this song departs the conventions of her other work and is such a well orchestrated song, it seems appropriate.

      I agree, I don’t really find myself seeking out her music either. I had been toying with picking up Jagged Little Pill, because it’s such a classic. It’s just not high on my list.

      I love songs like this because, at least for me, they elicit a physical, almost visceral response. The songs that stop you in your tracks, interrupt an otherwise pleasant conversation with, ”What the fuck is that…?” Those songs. The standouts. Those moments. That’s what I love about music.

      1. I dug up JLP on amazon music after writing that comment, and am currently digging it again.

        The visceral quality of this album is what drew me to her music as a teen as it is; but 20+ years of experience later makes me appreciate her perspective much more… it’s not just about how she expresses “my ‘anger'” any more.

        Regarding ‘masterpiece’ — I wouldn’t fight you on your classification. I think music is awesome from the angle that it’s subjectivity means it’s a deeply personal thing. I’m amazed at how many ‘other tracks’ from albums I hear now and think “Holy crap, why wasn’t this one ever given the credit it deserves”… things hit us differently at different times in our lives.

        (I’m suffering from semantic satiation with the term masterpiece and the recent release of Elden Ring… so the term is a little raw at the moment.)

  2. Time certainly does change perception doesn’t it? The best part of that is being able detach from those previous feelings that drew you in and now just enjoy what the artist created. I’m gonna have to go listen to that record now.

    I’ve thought the same thing about what I’d consider under-appreciated songs. Every album has them. I really should go digging to find some.

    I always appreciate your thoughts and comments, man. Thanks for checking in on this one.

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