Rock's ironic icon for women strikes a raw nerve at SFX

 

ALANIS Morissette, who appeared in concert at the SFX in Dublin last night, is the latest in a growing line of successful women in rock. And her quirky, mannered vocal style, combined with her edgy, brutally honest tunes, have struck a raw nerve in pop's collective psyche.

Her third album, Jagged Little Pill, is top of the charts in the US, and songs like Hand In My Pocket, You Oughta Know and You Learn have set the airwaves alight with their adult subject matter and measured, mature observations.

Amazing then to learn that the 21 year old singer from Ottawa began her career as a wannabe teenage Barbie doll. She released her first album at the age of 16 a collection of insipid dance pop tunes, and before she was old enough to vote, Alanis already seemed destined to be discarded by the pop industry and put out to pasture along with the Debbie Gibsons and Lena Zavaronis of this world.

After her second album, however, the young Morissette moved to Los Angeles and the transformation to intense, intelligent women's icon began. She signed to Madonna's Maverick label, which on the face of it might seem the perfect outlet for Morissette's sexually candid lyrics.

Alanis is no exhibitionist, however, and while Madonna might revel in the accoutrements of pain and pleasure, Morissette is more concerned with the hurt and heartache beneath the shiny sexual surface.

Madonna has cited "her honesty, her pain, her hopefulness" as three factors which attracted her to Morissette's music, and it seems the rest of the world likes what it hears too. Jagged Little Pill has already shifted about seven million copies, 50,000 of which have found Irish homes.

Last night's concert at the SFX sold out in one day, but Morissette returns to Dublin on July 14th to play the Point Depot, where she will distribute even more of those jagged, cathartic little pills to an eager, empathic audience.