55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2003
When Alanis Morissette released her breakthrough album in 1995, "Jagged Little Pill," practically the whole world stopped and watched this angst-ridden vixen whine to us. The album, in other words, was a phenomenal success. It sold near to 30 million units worldwide, and topped the UK album charts for 21 weeks over the course of two years while spawning some massive international hit singles. Three years passed between the release of this masterpiece, and expectations were extremely high for the follow up. It arrived in November 1998, and was titled "Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie."
So did it impress the public? Well, no. The album sold a mere 7 million copies - a significant drop from the previous release, but the fact remains that here we have a truly classic record. While Jagged Little Pill often lashed out in an angry state, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie is more about reconciliation - with her lovers, friends, parents, and with herself.
The album opens with the amazing two songs "Front Row" and "Baba." The former is an excellent opener, and an album highlight. The song has a catchy beat and some very thought-provoking lyrics, with a brilliant chorus which really hightens your spirits. The latter is an even better song, in which Alanis sings about the stupid cult followings that gather to connect with so-called higher spirits and other-worldy beings. "I've seen them coming to line up from Switzerland and America," she sings in an angry vocal attack. The beat is crunky and rusty, and this gives off an old and grand rock feel. The final minute of the song consists of Alanis wailing "Ave Maria" constantly, to stunning effect. "Thank U," the album's lead single, is one of Alanis' personal favourites. Alanis thanks things in her life that have being a constant form of intelligence and support. "Thank you India, thank you terror, thank you disillusionment" sings Alanis while a breath-taking beat swirls in the background. "Are You Still Mad" is a wonderful acoustic song in which Alanis' vocals shine brightly, as she tells an ex-lover to get over his complaining. In "Sympathetic Character," Alanis rips her heart out and smears it all over a canvas, creating an instantly classic indie anthem. The song has some very strange twists and lyrics, coupled with excellent and unique beats.
"That I Would Be Good" is the album's chill-out track. Alanis talks about how she would react if she lost all her fame and wealth. Her vocals are again on top form, and a wind instrument plays the song out in fine form. "The Couch" is five and a half minutes of pure brilliance. The song is performed in a stream-of-consciousness style, and this can be seen on the lyrics on the inside of the sleeve. Eight paragraphs of lyrical bliss about her father dominate the song, and the beat grows ever more dominant with each of the paragraphs. The lyrics are just perfect, and the tribal beat is truly spooky at times. Amazing - the best song on the album.
"Can't Not" and "UR" are yet more gems. The former is a mid-tempo composition with yet more excellent lyrics and wonderful sounds - on this song, the beat sounds like two pieces of wood bashing together slowly. Strange, yes. Awful, no. In the latter Alanis chills out, letting us in on her feelings about a particular person. "I Was Hoping" is another stream-of-consciousness style song in which Alanis sings in a fast vocal tone. Her vocals are good, and she sings them fast as if she is trying to force them out. Very good and original. "One" is another fantastic song. "I am the biggest hypocrite, I've been undeniably jealous" cries Alanis in a voice filled with emotion. The beat is sad and sorrowful, and this adds further to the dark and moody feel to the album.
"Would Not Come" is a wonderful song. Alanis' vocals seem very forced in an evil cackling tone. "If I make a lot of tinsel then people will want to, if I am hardened no fear of further abandonment," she sings before a wonderful chorus, which is followed up by a stunningly catchy rock solo. "Unsent" is the most original and unique song on the album. Alanis sings to five ex-lovers separately (Matthew/Jonathan/Terrance/Marcus/Lou) about all the good times they shared, and some of the bad. It's done wonderfully, and you get something new out of it everytime you listen to it. "So Pure" is the shortest cut on the album, and it's an excellent psychedelic song whipped into a flurry of funky beats and unique lyrics.
"Joining You" is, without a word of a lie, undoubtedly one of the best songs you will ever hear. Alanis sings about a close friend who committed suicide, and Alanis is saying that she would be joining them if they were both our bodies/futures/culture/leaders etc. The verses are low and depressing, but the chorus is an uplifting masterpiece. It sounds strange, but it's not. "Heart Of The House" is yet another excellent song. Alanis sings of her past with her much-loved mother in an extremely high pitched vocal tone, especially on the chorus where some words are hard to understand because of her emotions. "Your Congratulations" is the final song on the album, and what a disappointment. Seventeen songs, and sixteen are all stunning, amazing, wonderful works of art - but this last song? No!
OVERALL GRADE: 10/10
Jagged Little Pill still remains my favourite Alanis album (and my favourite record ever), but Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie comes a very close second. When I first listened to this album, I really did hate it, but after I had listened about five times, I knew it was a brilliant album and one of my favourite albums ever. People say that if you loved 'Jagged' you'll hate 'Supposed,' but I really don't. Both albums are classics, and no one can deny that. Alanis is one of the greatest female artists ever, and she has had such an impact on my life. Just think of all these talentless Alanis-wannabes around today like Avril Lavigne and compare them to Alanis, the true queen of rock. The difference shines brighter than any other comparison in the music industry.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2004
By the fall of 1998, music was headed towards a place everyone had long since left for dead. The Spice Girls, while a short-lived phenomenon, had re-introduced catchy meaningless songs. N Sync and the Backstreet Boys were riding high on the charts, and Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were just around the corner. So for many rock fans, the only shining light on the horizon was the anticipated release of Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, the much-hyped second album from superstar Alanis Morissette. Jagged Little Pill had sold 16 million copies at this point, and so the stakes were high. Could Alanis do it again?
Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie begins with the uptempo track Front Row. It's an example of what the listener will come to find on the album. It's wordy, only moderately catchy, and doesn't make sense, as it's Alanis' life. That being said, it might be the best song on the album. It's beat is oddly hypnotizing, and the lyrics are fun to listen to. Following that is Baba. It's a rock track that attacks the gurus that came into style around the time the record came out. It's not coded. It works well and it all comes together to make a great song. The third song is Thank U. This was the first single. It rose up the charts very quickly. And with good reason. The repetitive lyrics are somewhat predictable, but it's the catchiest song here. Up next is Are You Still Mad. We can only assume that the man in question is the cheater that inspired You Oughta Know. It seems evenhanded. She says sorry for being demanding, but then she apologizes for being more successful. It's left for the listener to decide. After this is Sympathetic Character. It's a dark song. Physical, mental and emotional abuse are all covered here, and Alanis' quivering vocals complement the song with expert precision. That I Would Be Good is a pretty personal song on the album. In it, she sings that no matter what, even if she gets ugly or loses her money, she'll still be worth it. The Couch is up next. This is a song about her father's childhood and how it affects him now. This is another dark song. Verbose, but it's also very good. Can't Not was one of the songs she performed on the tour for Jagged Little Pill. Alanis argues with herself and a tormenter about how their words affect her. Her voice is not as powerful here, but that seems intentional. UR might be seen as a welcome relief to the people seeking a light and upbeat track after all the melancholy. This talks about her life as a teen. It's a nice song that's relaxing and we get to hear the famous harmonica. Any hopes that the album's tone might lighten up are dashed by I Was Hoping. A song about Alanis debating with a man in secret over morals and ethics plays against a trippy beat and rushed lyrics. I love it. One is another very revealing song. Alanis sees her shenanigans in the past few years as pretentious and self-absorbed, and decided to apologize for "abusing her power." Would Not Come is seemingly coded. Alanis says that no matter what she does, "it" won't come. I think, given the situations, that she's talking about respect. Unsent is the second single off the album. 5 letters to five exes. This is a confessional song in which Alanis tells the men mentioned her thoughts about their time together and what they mean to her. Rarely do we see artists with such honesty and raw openness. And rarely is the song great, like it is here. So Pure is the only noticeably commercially catchy fast song, and to that end it became the third single. The title of the album is uttered here, and the dance music makes sense. It's about love, and how you can be totally drunk on someone. Joining You is a song about suicide. And trying to prevent it. It sounds like something that would be on the radio today. Just shows how ahead of her time Alanis was. Heart Of The House is an ode to her mother. It's sweet and she uses her voice differently, displaying a childish innocence and purity. Your Congratulations ends the album on a great note, and is a culmination of the events in her life. How everything she did in the past was just to please someone else, and now she's doing it for her. Much like the album. And the album is good. Better than good, it's GREAT.
On November 3rd, 1998, 6 years ago as of this review, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie arrived in stores. 469,052 copies were moved in the first week. Critics were unkind. Despite the record-breaking sales in week one, the album quickly halted, selling at glacier pace. After less than 40 weeks, it was gone, selling just 2.5 million copies. Nice, but FAR from the Jagged Little Pill zenith, and setting about a decline in sales Alanis has yet to reverse. REAL fans consider this her best album, and being a real fan, I'd agree. This is better than most albums, bordering on art. Maybe it's the best ever made. But that's my humble opinion.
Happy 6th Anniversary SFIJ. Let's hope you have many more years in print and that people will come to appreciate you.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2000
Alanis has come up with another SPECTACULAR album!! Some people say that "SFIJ" isn't as good as Alanis' last album, "Jagged Little Pill", but I reckon it's HEAPS better! At first I didn't like the album, but then I just kept listening to it and now I love it!! My advice to people who don't like this album at first is keep listening to it, and you will eventually love it as much as I do!!
PS. Don't expect too much of the "Uninvited" Demo: it's only Alanis singing with a piano. You're better off buying the "City Of Angels" soundtrack so you can have the real version complete with all of the instruments!!
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2003
When you've hit `play' you are immediately greeted with a demonic warbling, as the opening track is a dark one, obscure, that sticks in any listener's head due to the distinctive and varied background beat. This opener is the first part of the story and it reflects Alanis' state of mind at this stage in her life. For `Jagged Little Pill' fans, (Alanis' debut album) be warned: this is nothing like any of Alanis' previous work or indeed like anything you've ever heard before. Her voice is more mature, as if it has ripened over the years and is technically very good as the range of pitches varies greatly. It is finely tuned but the song itself is openly jarring:
"Slid into the ditch/ I have this overwhelming loss of ambition/
we said let's name thirty good reasons/ why we shouldn't be together/
I started by saying things like "you smoke" "you live in New Jersey (too far)"
It's starts off as a conventional lyric and song but ends up rather like `I was Hoping'. I think this refers to her partner at the time (surprise, surprise) and how much she didn't want to break up with him.
However she makes no mistake; this album is very listenable due to her distinctive style. As the first track concludes, you realise this is something original to taste. This feeling continues throughout the album as Alanis constantly plys the listener with estranged tracks that are totally and thoroughly related to her.
It is Alanis' second co-produced album with seventeen characteristic self-penned tracks. This was no easy feat for Morissette, as fans had to eagerly wait two years before it was completed. This album allows self-doubt to get a look in; it is not commercial in the least, as was JLP, but it doesn't need to be for the intelligent listener. During the second track, her idiosyncratic guitar makes a welcome appearance as Alanis takes to this album like a duck to water.
`Sympathetic Character' is where it all gets strangely exciting. Many people think that this is a mis-matched string of odd phrases that do not make sense; quite simply Alanis was slated for it at every available opportunity. However, I think that the unpredictable melody and the tempo of her vocals with Alanis, make this the distinguishing track of the album:
"I was afraid of verbal daggers/ I was afraid of the calm
before the storm/ I was afraid for my own bones"
I think that most people in her situation will be able to identify with what she is saying here. It is a very rushed song but it includes all of the characteristic features of domestic abuse. It borders on the hysterical side as the pitch of her voice suggests that she is slightly frantic perhaps even uncontrollable; she needs to get the words out. Even the very obvious gasps at the end of each lyric when she's drawing breath, don't matter - in fact it adds to the frenzied approach to the subject of domestic abuse.
Track no. six `That I Would Be Good' epitomises the nature of the whole album; a song about how, if she lost everything tomorrow, it wouldn't matter because she feels she has achieved what she wants and she'd still feel happy.
`That I would be good even if I gained ten pounds/
That I would be fine even if I went bankrupt'
This song says that she has found true happiness that isn't in the form of money etc. Many people will be envious of this song and what it means and wish they could say this at least once in their lives.
At first listen the song feels like it shouldn't be on this album, due to the slow, methodic tempo and the volume and pitch of the lyrics - like it doesn't qualify for SFIJ. It is only when you analyse the lyrics after that you realise just how important this track is - without it Alanis' message wouldn't get through.
`I was Hoping' is a stream-of-consciousness style of writing and is extremely fast-paced yet still has a clever rhythm. Alanis is even sometimes out of breath because of the fast tempo.
`As we were talking outside it was cold we were shivering
yet warmed by the subject matter/ my wife is in the next room we've been having troubles you know, please don't tell her or anyone
but I need to talk to somebody'
This is a story-telling song that is purely her thoughts off the cuff and original. It is almost a part of her diary it is that personal.
It is only now that you realise that the huge grinning smile on the cover indicates that Alanis is once again happy and self-fulfilled. The nakedness on the c.d. suggests that perhaps more importantly, she is happy with her body and the way she looks (which is a big turn-around considering she has admitted to eating disorders in the past). It is almost a pictorial metaphor for exposing her inner and outer self.
Then, it's only as you place the c.d. back in its case, do you realise that this is not an odd choice of colour or pictures etc. it is purposely chosen for its lack of colour and attractiveness. Whereas Jagged Little Pill was a happy-ish but accusatory time in her life, the second album represents a dark period that's very abstract. For this is not an album made to make money, her main purpose is to share her story with her audience. To Alanis, if this album sells one hundred copies or one hundred million copies, it won't matter as long as she's told her story.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2002
In my opinion. Jagged Little Pill and Under Rug Swept, although good, are not as good as this one.
This is a whole seventeen tracks of pure, uninhibited "kick @ss". That's the best way to describe it. Every single song is extremely different from the next, and there isn't one you want to skip over at all.
Front Row - Wonderful way to start off the album. I love the lyrics, the beats, the harmonies, the production.
Baba - I liked this song before I even bought the CD by watching her perform it live on MTV. This is a fantastic perspective given by Alanis in watching the various people from around the world visit India.
Thank U - The first single. It's so unlike any of her previous songs (with maybe the exception of "Head Over Feet") because it's optimistic. And she clearly states that you don't have to be depressed and angsty to write good music. That is, in fact, her message for the entire album. And she does it well.
Are You Still Mad - Fantastic lyrical composition. The beginning notes of the piano are similar to those that begin the song "Uninvited".
Sympathetic Character - an explosion, a fury of art. Like always, her lyrics captivate the mood of the song with the help of the synthesized instruments backing her up. I love the harmonies... they are so tastefully dissonant.
That I Would Be Good - Slow song, great to listen to... very emotional.
The Couch - one of my favorites. It's long, it's repetitive, and it's incredibly interesting. The lyrics take you on a voyage in the perspective of a man. Later I found out this song was actually written in her father's perspective. I highly recommend you listen to this song.
Can't Not - slow beats, and the mood changes halfway.
UR - if there was one weak song on this album, it's this one. But not even by far. It's still a good song, although in my opinion, not as good as the others.
I Was Hoping - This one will blow you away. Again in the perspective of a man. The lyrics are so innovative and though-provoking. Another one of my favorites.
One - Quite relaxing, although only musically it contrasts from the last song. Lyrically it's just as fervorous.
Would Not Come - Possibly the most far-fetched song of the album. It's incredibly different than any song she's made before, during, and after this time period. I'm taking a stab at this, but I think it's about her case of writer's block she suffered through after JLP.
Unsent - Another single. Along with UR, a little on the weak side. I've noticed that Alanis always puts her weakest songs to be singles. I agree incredibly with that move.
So Pure - Another single. This song sorta reminds me of Madonna in her early days. And I love it. It's so catchy and fun-loving, done with taste, of course.
Joining You - Possibly the most emotionally-heavy song on the album. A real gem and a favorite of mine. Listen to these words carefully. You will love this song.
Heart of the House - I love the message of this song. It's about her mother, of course.
Your Congratulations - a dissonant way to end the album. Very simplified, her voice is the most prevalent part. It's so abstract and raw. I love the lyrics.
Like I said, this is my favorite Alanis album. It struck me in a way that JLP and URS didn't really.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2002
Trust me...I hated Alanis for YEARS before I heard this record. I thought she was the biggest fabricated Sinead O-Connorwannabe industry blow-up doll ever SEEN. BUT...that all changed the first time I heard "Thank You..." on the radio. Instinctively, I knew those lyrics and that incredible melody had come from a very real place. I know the song was not a major hit for her (which further indicates that it is truly GREAT and above the heads of the mediocre masses), but I rushed out and bought the album and was blown smack off my previous high horse and converted to the cult of Alanis. Never thought it would happen. Not in a million years. Seriously, I was one of those who thought about launching an anti-Alanis website...I thought she was THAT phony. But I was wrong, and this album proved me wrong. Astonishingly original, achingly personal, deliciously experimental, and HONEST. She didn't have to make an album like this; in fact, I'm certain her label probably sweated bullets. But she proved herself as a vocalist, as an artist. I think it's a gorgeous record in every way. Tracks like "Thank You" "That I would Be Good" "So Pure" and, especially, "Joining You" rank as some of the best female pop-rock of the 90's. Yes, I bought her next two (the Unplugged and the Rug Swept album) but neither of them, while good, hold a candle to this great piece of artistry. I still do not own Jagged and will never purchase it (cause I think it was a total phony album) but this record was as REAL as Jagged was NOT. Five BIG Stars. P.S. Want a great album recommendation to listen to now? Buy Sinead O'Connor's new one called 'Sean-nos Nua'...it will raise the hair on the back of your neck and lull you into ... wonderland.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2008
I bought this CD when it first came out in late 1998, and it was one of those discs that immediately made me shake my head in disbelief at how good it was. Nearly ten years later, it still blows me away every time I listen to it. There are no filler tracks here; I listen to it from start to finish every single time. Tracks like "Joining You" and "Can't Not" recall the sound of Jagged Little Pill, but there's also a level of maturity not present on that first disc. The songwriting and lyrics are excellent, and Morissette's vocals are heartfelt and sincere. Ask me to name the five CD's I'd take with me to a deserted island and this might be the first one I name.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2001
After the hugely successful "Jagged Little Pill," Alanis brings out her sophmore release in 98, "Suppossed Former Infactuation Junkie" with the desire to not just please her fans but to please herself as well. After endless touring she begun a battle within herself - questioning whether or not singing was what she really wanted to pursue for the rest of her life. She could have stopped when she was on top but instead decided to stick the gut. I am so tired of everyone bickering about how this album is a failure for Alanis Morissette. In her debut album she gripes and complains too much while here she blesses the listener with a much more conciliatory approach, though still a bit disturbed. She also seems to feel more comfortable in her skin, seeing that instead of dressing the "grunge look" she appears nearly naked in her video for Thank U as well as the CD's disk cover. And instead of infusing pure rock elements she also experiments more on ambient and electronic sounds, giving her the rightful niche of Pop Rock... Probably the most obvious restrain on a softer advance is on track #6, That I Would Be Good, which features a delicately touched piano and her take on the flute and harmonica. And despite her often flat and off-keyed notes it somehow adds more beauty to the otherwise monotonous song... Other favorites include the more synthesized and programmed tracks such as Baba, Front Row, The Couch, Can't Not, I Was Hoping, One, Would Not Come, and Joining You. I did give this 4-stars, though, just because songs like Unsent and Your Congratulations bore me to tears. I still find this required listening, though, and suggest that once her forthcoming album, "Under Rug Swept" comes out that you see her on tour. I actually just recently had the opportunity to catch her live and be one of the first to hear exclusive songs from that album, and let me tell you - they sound incredible.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2000
I recently had a chance to catch an Alanis concert, in Israel, and it was simply amazing! The raw intensity of this beautiful young woman on stage along with some of the world's top musicians was simply marvelous. I was in the front row ("the front crow - with popcorn..") and right in the middle, so I was able to catch every single precious moment of the best concert in my life. From all the jumping and singing and yelling, I actually dislocated my shoulder and had enormous pain for three weeks, but it was worth it. Now to the point - this album! I have to admit that it took some time for Junky to grow on me. Naturally, once I listened to it, I started comparing it to the previous Alanis album, Jagged Little Pill. Jagged was and still is probably my favorite album ever, it also was the first CD I ever bought, at the age of 13. It's one of the only albums I can honestly say I love entirely. There's not a single song in this album, which I skip, they are all genius. Especially Perfect, Hand in My Pocket, Forgiven, Mary Jane, Your House, Head Over Feat, and... well, practically all of them. It's no wonder Pill sold over 28 million (!) copies. Such success is hard to repeat, and I don't think the success, or lack of, and the many fans who probably didn't like Junky, were what Alanis thought about when writing it. It's way too personal. One thing I learned from listening to the remarkable opening track - Front Row - was that this is not another Pill. It took some listens, especially late night ones, with earphones, until I completely fell in love with this beautiful work of art. Where Pill screams, Junky whispers. Where Pill kicks, junky caresses. It's simply the more mature, more at-peace side of Alanis. The first track is brilliant I think. `Baba' is also a powerful number, dealing with the ever-anxious western desire to suckle on eastern wisdom and the eager try to buy redemption. `Thank You' is about seeing all the things in your life that you believed damaged you, and coming to terms with it, and even being able to be grateful of the glass's full half. I was just trying to list my favorites, but that would be too long... well, one of the best tracks is the beautiful ballad: That I Would Be Good. It's simply amazing, and got me close to tears on more than one occasion. That ability Alanis has, of revealing herself completely, managed to strike a nerve always. I think of all the songs in the album, the one that truly shows her musical range, when it comes to her vocality, is the almost unspoken-of, Your Congratulations. Alanis makes the high notes along with the piano in a remarkable way, proving she's more than a rock/grunge girl, but a true and mature musician, as this entire album proves.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2007
Some may discard this review as trite, especially given the dramatic title of this review, however very few albums have ever affected and influenced me as much as this album, that I feel has been tragically over looked by many today. The professional reviews of this album were generally very strong, and how can anyone consider any album that sells upwards of 8 million copies as a flop? Come on?!
I must admit, I did however only purchase this album on the strength of Jagged Little Pill, and even actually disliked Thank U, the lead single. I received this album as a gift, and at first listen I found no stand out songs, and thought the album was very dark and scattered, however when the fog lifts, and you listen to this album more, it presents itself in all its dark, weird and wonderful glory and comes through as one of the most artistic albums EVER!
Starting off with Front Row, you may feel bombarded with words and over layering, but under the complexities is the most amazing tune and beat. Try listen to this song loud and sing along with the Lyric Booklet to enjoy it fully. Many songs omit choruses and instead use an increseing momentum effect in each song. This distinguishes the album above and beyond most other singer/song-writers in this genre. It is not an album of radio friendly singles at all, and I couldn't imagine any song other than So Pure being a radio hit, but these songs are far too good for radio. The subtleties like the last 30 seconds of `Your congratulations', or the feeling you get when you listen to "I Was Hoping" really loud, are things that can only be experienced by listening to the album as a whole.
The album highlights, for me are Joining You (an absolute classic), Would not come (perhaps the darkest pop song of all time!?), Front Row, Unsent (an alanis classic), I was Hoping and The couch!!
In the modern music scene, which is geared towards easy absorption and instant `catchy-ness' this album shows what music is truly capable of, and the power it can have if you listen to it, instead of just hearing.