Reviews

Alanis Morissette Gives a Harrowing Look at Addiction in “Reasons I Drink”

It’d be easy, understandable and expected for this video to be devastatingly tragic and weepy. It’d be easy to do, too.

But Alanis Morissette has a wit as sharp as her voice, and feeling sorry for herself was never really Morissette’s style.

The balance between humor and heart is always a hard one to strike, and especially on a topic like addiction (and addiction of a wealthy “well to do person” at that), it’s even harder.

What are you allowed to laugh at? What must be taken seriously? When does it become a pity party? Can you laugh at it if it’s about yourself?

The lead single off of her upcoming album Such Pretty Forks in the Road, “Reasons I Drink,” is a return to form for Morissette. Echoing the more angsty vibes of Jagged Little Pill, “Reasons I Drink” pulls no punches, neither visually nor lyrically.

Opening on what’s the stereotypical “12 Step” meeting, Morrisette makes up four members of the meeting circle, slowly revealing all of the hardships in her life. From family members passing (in these shots, she’s dressed in her iconic “Ironic” music video outfit), to the woes of being famous, to the grueling realities of being a mother.

There’s definite humor in the video, a sort of sardonic self-awareness that’s refreshing to see from someone like Morissette. From nursing her child to taking red carpet interviews all at the 12 Step meeting, she recognizes the absurdity of her own life. And while it can be funny, there’s also something exceptionally isolating about it. While Morissette sits around all the other “normal” members of the meeting, it’s clear that her problems are literally not like anyone else’s — and it has to be hard to feel that alone.

Even lyrically, somehow Morissette manages to make “on the nose” lyrics seem less “cringe-worthy” and more “strikingly honest.”

It feels as though the straightforward “pull no punches” lyricism more accurately represents the realities of addiction than flowery, deeply poetic language might.

Addiction is ugly. Addiction is raw. Addiction is real. And there isn’t really room for metaphors or allegories here.

This is the Alanis Morissette people not only remember, but want.

Welcome back, Alanis. Show these new girls how angst is done.

Featured Image: Maverick