There are some bands out there that are one hit wonders, but there are other artists out there that are great musicians and talented but have lost their “edge” because of music and fame.
Case and point Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill was a great album, in fact one of my all-time favorites, but the albums beauty and success was that she was so angry and upset at a former lover that she sang with a passion that sold 20 million copies to a whole generation of pissed off GenX’ers. Her follow-up music has been decent, but nothing ever compared to JLP. Was it fame and new-found love that tamed her? Was it money and happiness that diluted her anger? The best evidence is the ten-year reissue of JLP in 2005, the album was good, the acoustic arrangement was well done, but listen to her spirit and the songs have lost their feeling. When she wails to “You Oughta Know” she sounds at peace and the anger that was in her voice ten years prior had eased to a hit song remade by an artist with the same name and the same voice, but nothing like the tortured girl who could make your heart sink for every heart you had ever broken.
On the other side of the coin you have artist who have lost their edge because music had become to real. The 1990’s were ripe with “gangstas” but the deaths of Tupac and Biggie took the wind out of many of the sails and opening eyes to the realism that had crept into something a simple as a lyric. Dr. Dre was on of the hardest most lethal rappers on the West Coast, so lethal he stole Tupac from NYC and brought him to the West Coast clique. Tupac’s death in 1996 sent Dre from The Chronic to his 2001 release which was musically interesting, but not the raw intensity that he displayed in years long gone. While he has produced some great music in the years and decades since Chronic, he has shone his brains are bigger than his pockets. Had he stayed in the “gangsta game” he could have wound up a legend lost to soon instead of a legend who knew when to enjoy life with his family.
There are so many people who music has risen to the top Eminem, Tracy Chapman, The Cure, to name a few. But when music gives you everything you were desiring; fame, fortune and popularity is it still easy to write songs about being put down, unappreciated and broke. Honestly I would look at Eminem’s career and say it speaks for itself. The more respectable his talent was received the more he had less to bitch about in his music, in the end all he was left to complain about was his ex-wife Kim. And no one wants 13 tracks of F-Kim.
Alanis will probably never release an album like JLP again, a gem like that is hard to top for any artist. If she wants that fire she will need to lose everything to the IRS and her love would leave her for Marilyn Manson, then she could really rip it up again. Until then she will release some albums with a few good tracks, but she will always have Paris.