Flavors of Entanglement is the seventh studio album by Alanis Morissette. Released on June 10, 2008 in the United States by Maverick Records, it was her final release on the record label.
The album was a moderate success, being well received compared to her prior output and going on to sell 600,000 copies worldwide.
Three singles were released from the album – Underneath on April 15, 2008; In Praise of Vulnerable Man on August 18, 2008; and Not as We on October 13, 2008.
- Release date: May 30, 2008 (Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Ireland) / June 2, 2008 (internationally) / June 10, 2008 (North America)
- Recorded: 2007
- Genre: Pop, pop rock, synth pop, electronic
- Length: 46:12
- Label: Maverick Records
- Producer: Guy Sigsworth
All lyrics are written by Alanis Morissette while all music is composed by Morissette and Guy Sigsworth.
01. Citizen of the Planet – 4:22
02. Underneath – 4:07
03. Straitjacket – 3:08
04. Versions of Violence – 3:36
05. Not as We – 4:45
06. In Praise of the Vulnerable Man – 4:07
07. Moratorium – 5:34
08. Torch – 4:49
09. Giggling Again for No Reason – 3:48
10. Tapes – 4:26
11. Incomplete – 3:30
12. It’s a Bitch to Grow Up – 4:17
12. 20/20 – 4:03
12. Orchid – 4:21
13. The Guy Who Leaves – 4:12
14. Madness – 6:21
15. Limbo No More – 5:21
16. On the Tequila – 3:42
Development & Production
In March 2005, Alanis said she was ready to begin work on a new album after having filled up four journals worth of material. and usually began a new album after filling two. She mentioned her intentions for the sound of the album in a December 2005 interview to promote her greatest hits album The Collection, saying she would love to fuse the technological sonic landscapes with the more organic ones. In January 2006, Rolling Stone Magazine reported that Morissette was in intense writing sessions for her upcoming studio album, having enlisted the help of multiple collaborators (including Mike Elizondo, who produced her song Wunderkind). With three years having passed since the recording of So-Called Chaos, she found herself teeming with ideas for material.
Alanis said in an October 2006 interview with TV Guide that she was going to enter the studio and start writing new material over the next few weeks after having filled up an additional three journals. Speculation ran wild after her April Fools Day’ cover of My Humps was released on April 1, 2007, and fans noticed the high quality of the audio and video production. When she performed at a gig at the Hotel Café in Los Angeles on April 24, 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, she then played a new song, which would be revealed as Not as We. On October 9, that same song appeared in the third episode of the fourth season of the television series House, entitled 97 Seconds.
In August, Guy Sigsworth said in an interview with arbiter.co.uk that 25 songs were written for the album, 13 had been recorded, and eight more were being recorded after Alanis requested B-sides and exclusives. Sigsworth went on to describe her as a dream to work with and totally into his 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. An October 2007 interview with Alanis, published on the blog Holons 2.0, reported that the title of the album was tentatively Flavors of Entanglement, while noting that no release date had yer been set.
Alanis had noted an expansion of her musical sound on Flavors of Entanglement, adding that there were more technological aspects to it than her previous work. She said that because of her love for dancing, the album incorporates beats and loops that would inspire listeners to dance their faces off. She has described the album as a combination of everything in which she has a musical interest, including hip-hop beats and organic instrumentation. She said that the album features songs about her own personal relationships, explaining that writing about them is her favourite activity. The album incorporates themes involving both personal and political conflict.
Release & Reception
Flavors of Entanglement‘s release date ended up being moved five times before its eventual release. Upon release, the album received generally positive reviews from music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic awarded the album three-and-a-half stars out of five. Leah Greenblatt from Entertainment Weekly gave it a B+, commenting that a devastating personal experience had galvanized her songwriting in a way that the domestic bliss showcased on So-Called Chaos could not.
Paul Schrodt from Slant Magazine gave it two-and-a-half stars out of five, though he did praise the album’s new musical direction and referred to it as new-age Alanis. The Toronto Star gave the album three stars out of four. Joanna Hunkin from The New Zealand Herald gave the album four stars out of five, calling the album Alanis’s best work of the decade.
In the United States, the album debuted at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 with 70,576 copies sold. Outside of the United States, the album debuted at number one on the Swiss Albums Chart, making it her third number one album there, and stayed on the charts for 16 weeks. The album debuted at number three on the Austrian Albums Chart, and stayed in the charts for 12 weeks. It debuted at number 20 on the Belgian Albums Chart, later peaking at number eight on its second week. It debuted at number six on the French Albums Chart, staying in the charts for 16 weeks, and also peaked at number eight in Italy, at number 36 on the Swedish Albums Chart and at number 30 on the Spanish Albums Chart.
The album debuted at number 17 on the Australian Albums Chart, falling to number 33 on its second week before dropping out of the chart. The record stayed a sole week on the New Zealand Albums Chart, where it peaked at number 35.
As of March 2012, the album had sold 233,000 copies in the United States. There have also been 76,000 paid downloads of Underneath while Not as We racked up 38,000 paid downloads. As of August 2012, the album has sold over 600,000 copies worldwide.