While it's not a repudiation of her blockbuster, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie is a clear step forward, teeming with ambition and filled with new musical ideas and different sonic textures. Alanis Morissette's voice still sears, but she has more control over her singing, rarely reaching the piercing heights that occasionally made Jagged Little Pill jarring. Also, she has clearly spent some time crafting her lyrics; not only do they never sound like straight diary entries, she no longer is trying to fit too many syllables into a phrase. These two differences are subtle -- the brooding, Eastern-styled music that dominates Supposed is not. There are numerous extensions of the vague hip-hop and pop fusions that made "Hand in Pocket" and "All I Really Want" huge hits ("Front Row," "UR," "Thank U," "So Pure"), but much of the album is devoted to moody ballads and mid-tempo pop, where the textured production functions as a backdrop for Morissette's cryptically introspective lyrics. Far from being alienating, this approach works surprisingly well -- not only do the pop tunes sound catchier, but the ballads, with their winding melodies and dark colors, sound strong and brave. If anything, the record is more coherent album than its predecessor, and even if it isn't as accessible or as compulsively listenable, it's a richer record. That said, it won't win any new fans -- for all of her success, Morissette is a weird acquired taste, due to her idiosyncratic vocals and doggedly convoluted confessionals -- but it certainly confirms that she doesn't quite sound like anyone else, either.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine