03 April 2007

Isn't It Ironic?

You guys, when did Alanis Morissette get a sense of humor?

I ask that question not because I don't like her music. Sometimes, I do. "Hand in My Pocket?" "Hands Clean?" Absolutely. But after she released so many albums of naval-gazing rock-pop, I thought I knew her. I figured "Alanis" was synonymous with "convoluted lyrics" or "increasingly fewer instances of a discernible chorus or hook because all her songs are just long lists of people's names or the forty-one reasons she's praying."

So how was I supposed to predict that she'd be able to mock both herself and the current pop music Zeitgeist so well?

Okay, her particular target for parody isn't super current, but it's not like "My Humps" has become this old relic that no longer resembles anything else in pop culture.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Some of you may be asking, "How the hell do Alanis Morissette and 'My Humps' go together?"

Before I answer that question, let me offer a little background material. If you haven't seen the video for Black Eyed Peas' "My Humps," you might want to watch it here:

Mind reeling? Been too long since you had to taste that particular brew of Fergie poison? Been trying to forget her since she likened herself to a bridge? Sorry to bring back old memories, but it had to be done. Because having seen the original, it's easier to appreciate Alanis' take on the video. Take a look...

I say, "Brilliant."

My god. Brilliant.

Because not only is Morissette mocking the ludicrousness of "My Humps," she's also mocking herself. The fact that she recorded this song in the "Morissette style," with the haunting piano and angsty wailing in tact, proves that she knows she can sometimes seem like a drippy flower child. And it's not like when Tori Amos records silly songs in her freak-out-fairy style. A Tori video of "My Humps" would be filled with symbolic images of mountains melting or something. Like when she covered that Eminem song. That shit was scary. Yes, Tori offered a strong critique of Eminem, but she never seems to do the same for herself.

The fact that Alanis copies the images of "My Humps" but changes the sound only points out how over-the-top both she and the Black Eyed Peas can be. It can all be an artifice, she's saying. Everything hurled at us on the radio or television or movie screen can be an artificial attempt to seem totally authentic, but sometimes it's all just silly posturing.

And it's good to be reminded of that.

Plus, remember yesterday when I was saying Pink didn't manage to criticize the objectification of female sexuality in "Stupid Girls" without becoming the very thing she supposedly opposed? Well, Alanis found a way.

If that kind of wit, intelligence, and humility is in her next album, I'm buying it.

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At 4:54 PM, Blogger megc said...

I LOVE Alanis's version of "My Humps". It is awesome in its parody! I have watched it a bunch of times now, and it easily became an earworm after a couple viewings. I think the sunglassed-dudes are pretty great, too. Her response to each of their advances is also interesting, compared to the Black Eyed Peas's video.

Great analysis, Mark.

At 7:41 PM, Blogger N said...

Oh man, that was the awesomest. Just surpassed the cheesy Canadian pop music videos ("Too Hot" and "Walk Away") as my favorite Alanis video of all time.


At 8:42 PM, Anonymous AdamH said...

I agree. Brilliant!

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Fabricio Teixeira said...

I agree. She's ironic, she's brilliant.

At 3:24 PM, Anonymous kalle said...

I come here to listen to both versions at least twice a week. Alanis' humps are teh hotness!

At 4:09 PM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

Kalle. Awesome. I'm glad you need to get your Alanis fix.


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