Alanis Morrissette - Such Pretty Forks In The Road: Cassette (RSDBF22)
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Havoc and Bright Lights marked a rebirth for Alanis Morissette, the first album she recorded as a newlywed mother. Delivered a full eight years later, Such Pretty Forks in the Road is the second act of the story, an album about learning how to find contentment at middle age. Morissette wrestles anxieties, origin stories, addictions, parenthood, and partnership throughout the record, searching for reasons and a diagnosis, achieving a sense of peace with having her sense of calm being disturbed on occasion. Appropriately for an album that's decidedly focused on an inward journey, Such Pretty Forks in the Road simmers, never boils. Hooks force themselves into the center stage on "Reasons I Drink" -- the rare tune here that could be called catchy -- but otherwise melody takes a back seat to mood. This doesn't necessarily mean Morissette's words are pushed into the spotlight. Such Pretty Forks in the Road is lacquered in immaculate gloss, a sound that accentuates the interior journey of the songs without quite inviting exploration. A close listen reveals all the troubles rolling around Morissette's mind, but the nice thing about Such Pretty Forks in the Road is how its smooth, placid surface makes the record feel like an album-length guided serenity meditation.