Alanis Morissette will release So-Called Chaos on April 13th. She is currently putting the finishing touches on the album, the follow-up to last year's Under Rug Swept, with longtime collaborator Tim Thorney and John Shanks (Michelle Branch) in a Santa Monica recording studio owned by Jackson Browne.
"I started writing on and off this summer very reticently," she says. "I wrote a couple of songs, ventured away from the studio, then ventured back in. By the fall I realized I had enough songs that could make a record."
One of the first tracks written for the album was "Knees of My Bees," a song Morissette calls a tribute to her boyfriend of more than a year. "I always have to honor him in some way," she says.
Among the rest of the ten tracks are "Eight Easy Steps," a song that begins with seductive dance loops, then bursts into its explosive, guitar-heavy chorus; the mid-tempo rocker "Everything"; and "Out Is Through," which begins with a soft melodic intro and evolves into a towering hook.
"This Grudge" is a pretty ballad about letting go. Morissette sings, "Fourteen years, thirty minutes, fifteen seconds I've held this grudge/Eleven songs, four full journals, thoughts of punishments I've expended."
"At this particular time in my life the challenge for me was to figure out this concept of forgiveness that always sounded so great on paper," Morissette explains. "But how do you do it? I could say, 'Yes, I forgive you.' But that doesn't mean I truly forgive a person. So this song wasn't even so much about my having done it; it was about my yearning and readiness to do it, or so I think."
The album's title comes from a song of the same name that is one of Morissette's most adventurous. It begins a detached, looping vocal, and builds into a high-energy chorus in which Morissette sings, "I want to be naked running through the streets/I want to invite this so-called chaos that you think I dare not be," and then climaxes with a wall of distortion.
The experimental nature of "Chaos" is echoed elsewhere throughout the album: Morissette plays around with dance loops, as well as her love for Indian music ("Knees of my Bees" employs a sitar). "My records inform me about where I'm at," she says.
So where does she find herself on So-Called Chaos? "I don't consider myself to be a piano artist, a loop artist, or a hip-hop artist. I don't know what I am . . . and that shows."