Release date: May 2008
Flavors of Entanglement is the seventh studio album, fifth international release and last Maverick Records release by Canadian-American singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette. The album, which was originally set for an April release, was released May 30, 2008 in Germany, Benelux and Ireland, released internationally on June 2 and in the United States on June 10. It was produced by Guy Sigsworth. The album has sold 300,000 copies in the USA (as of December, 2008) and over 1,500,000 copies worldwide (as of May 2009). Flavors of Entanglement won a Juno for Pop Album of the Year at the 2009 Juno Awards. The album gets its name from a lyric in the track "Moratorium".
Morissette left Maverick Records after all promotion for Flavors of Entanglement was completed.
Themes and subject matter
According to Morissette, the album features a "nice cross-section" of "joy and levity" similar to what is featured on her 2004 album, So-Called Chaos, and "the kind of rock bottom, 'Holy shit, I am a broken woman' moment." She said that the album features songs about her own personal relationships, explaining that writing about them is her favourite activity "'cause it's the only thing I can really comment on with any kind of conviction or authority." The album incorporates themes involving both personal and political conflict, and Morissette explained that "Our emotions align themselves with larger symptomatic things in the world. We face a large war out there, but the album more closely reflects the war in peoples' living rooms... the icy silence at home, versus the big cold war."
Morissette summarized the track "Moratorium" as being "essentially a song about my readiness to stop repeating bad patterns. I've kicked some of those in my life." She said of "Not as We", "You know how you can resist hitting rock bottom for a long time? That song just goes 'ok, I'm going. All the way down'". "Underneath" is about breakdowns in communication.
Morissette has noted an expansion of her musical sound on Flavors of Entanglement, and that there are "more technological aspects to it on a sonic level" than previously. She said that because of her love for dancing, the album incorporates beats and loops that enable one to, in her words, "dance your face off". She has described the album as "a combination of everything" in which she has a musical interest, including hip hop beats and organic instruments. Morissette has referred to the album as "techno-sounding but organic" and said, "I like fusion." According to Billboard magazine, the album "balances world- and folk-influenced tracks against the experimental pop leanings of producer Guy Sigsworth".
In March 2005, Morissette said she was ready to begin work on a new album, explaining that she had filled four journals and usually began a new album after filling two—"I'm very pregnant with songs", she said. She mentioned her intentions for the sound of the album in a December 2005 interview to promote Alanis Morissette: The Collection, saying she "would love to fuse the technological sonic landscapes with the more organic ones". In January 2006, Rolling Stone wrote that Morissette was in between "intense" writing sessions for her upcoming studio album, for which she had enlisted multiple collaborators, including Mike Elizondo, who produced her song "Wunderkind" for the soundtrack of the 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Morissette described herself as "teeming with ideas" because she hadn't written an album in three years (her previous studio album, So-Called Chaos, was released in 2004, but recorded in 2003); she said "I have more than enough thoughts to congeal together."
In October 2006, Morissette said in an interview with TV Guide that she was going to enter the studio and start writing new material over the next few weeks, saying "at the present, I have seven journals full. I have a lot within me ready to burst out." Morissette released a cover of The Black Eyed Peas' "My Humps" in April 2007, and the high quality of the recording led to speculation among fans that she was in the studio working on an album. She performed at a gig for The Nightwatchman, a.k.a. Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, at the Hotel Café in Los Angeles on April 24. There, she said that she and producer Guy Sigsworth had been "sequestered" in London and Los Angeles during the previous few months writing "a bevy of new songs". Accompanied by Sigsworth on piano, Morissette played a new song, "Not as We". Later, the song appeared in the third episode of the fourth season of the television series House, "97 Seconds", which was first aired on October 9.
In August, Sigsworth said in an interview with arbiter.co.uk that twenty-five songs were written for the album, thirteen had been recorded, and eight more were being recorded after Morissette requested B-sides and "exclusives". Sigsworth described Morissette as "a dream to work with" and "totally into my sound world." In the same interview, guitarist and programmer Andy Page said that at one point, they were working on twelve of the tracks simultaneously, and that one contains "moshing distorted guitars" and a "'wall-of-noise'" created using Guitar Rig. Page also said that he had used the graphical modular software music studio Reaktor on the album, saying of it that "I prefer using its granulators and weirder signal processors to its synths. Some of its physically modeled stuff is very cool, and there are some cool wavetable synths." An October 2007 interview with Morissette published on the blog Holons 2.0 reported that the title of the album was Flavors of Entanglement, although it said no release date was set. The release date of the album ended up being moved five times.
A video for another new song, "Underneath", was premiered on September 15 in Los Angeles, as part of the Elevate Film Festival. The purpose of the festival was to create documentaries, music videos, narratives and shorts regarding subjects to raise the level of human consciousness on the earth. Morissette submitted the song, and then (as with the other fourteen videos) had the music video written, directed, shot and edited in two days.
In a review of the album published on the blog website www.arjanwrites.com in December 2007, Rob Diament of the band Temposhark wrote that "Flavors of Entanglement is without a doubt a career highlight", and that "In the same way that Madonna's Ray of Light with William Orbit delivered us a new perspective of Madonna, Guy's and Alanis' meeting of minds has produced a fresh, classy, gutsy and uplifting masterpiece that will stand the test of time."