Alanis Morissette

MTV Unplugged

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Often, artists embrace MTV Unplugged as an opportunity to stroll through their back catalog. Not Alanis Morissette. Instead of concentrating on the familiar (only four songs from Jagged Little Pill are here, and neither of its sequel's hits, "Thank U" and "So Pure," are performed), Morissette uses Unplugged as a way to reintroduce Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie to an audience that largely ignored it the first time around. It's easy to see why Morissette is so intent on selling these songs. Although their meaning may be elusive at times, they're extremely personal songs, which benefit from the stripped-down arrangements and intimate surroundings. Even so, the songs require close, careful listening before they truly catch hold, and even then, they're often easier to admire than love. By closing the performance with the non-LP soundtrack contribution "Uninvited," Morissette unwittingly highlights the reason why Supposed failed to gain a large audience. Like much of that album, "Uninvited is also heavy on mood and cryptic lyrics, but the song is blessed with an indelible melody and haunting atmosphere. Compared with that song, the Supposed tunes, plus the three previously unreleased songs (including "No Pressure Over Cappucinio and "Princess Familiar"), are all intriguing but never as compelling, largely because they demand that the listener meet them on their own terms. Here, they're a bit more accessible, but it makes MTV Unplugged just slightly less elusive than Supposed itself.

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