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Alanis Morissette: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Rebel Mom

Seventeen years after the release of her iconic album Jagged Little Pill, the Canadian singer-songwriter takes her new music, her controversial parenting practices, and her baby son, Ever, on the road.  

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Alanis Morissette: The Rock 'n' Roll Rebel Mom

In her notorious 1995 kiss-off anthem “You Oughta Know,” Alanis Morissette slags her lover’s new flame by mocking her potential parenting skills. “Would she have your baby?” Morissette sneers. “I’m sure she’d make a really excellent mother.” Now 38 years old, the singer is in the throes of motherhood herself – but it hasn’t dampened her rock ‘n’ roll fire.

After her son, Ever, was born in December 2010, Morissette took a well-deserved hiatus from recording. Once work cravings returned, she and her husband, rapper Mario “MC Souleye” Treadway, built a makeshift studio in their Los Angeles home so she could get back to business without leaving her son.

The result is Havoc and Bright Lights, Morissette’s first album in four years. Released on August 28, the collection of bright, shiny songs delves into the chaos and confusion of fame and motherhood while, as she says, celebrating the spirituality that allows her to cope with the stresses. Morissette has been on the road promoting Havoc since the beginning of summer, Ever in tow. She easily admits that prior to having a child, touring often felt laborious. “I’d be so looking forward to coming home and having a life. But now, my life is with me.”

It’s been more than two decades since Morissette danced onto the cultural landscape as a Paula-Abdul-by-way-of-Ottawa teen with the frothy pop hit “Too Hot.” After releasing a pair of forgettable albums, Morissette re-emerged at 21 years old with Jagged Little Pill, a spiky, defiant rock disc that sold 33 million copies and galvanized a generation of female singers. Morissette has mellowed somewhat since then, thanks largely to a transformative trip to India in 1997, but her influence continues to be felt – without Morissette, there would be no Pink, no Kelly Clarkson.

You would think that after all the time in the media glare, Morissette would be weary, if not downright resentful, of the scrutiny. But she is unflaggingly upbeat – she’s come to embrace the upsides of stardom. “I see celebrity as a gorgeous thing,” she says in her breezy way. “Because I get to use it for my own purposes.” In the wake of a backlash against Time magazine’s recent cover story on attachment parenting, Morissette wrote a column for The Huffington Post defending the practice – and later revealed on Good Morning America that she plans to breastfeed Ever “until he says to stop,” even if that’s at age six. It was a characteristically gutsy move. Morissette may be a mother now, but she can still let out a rebel yell.

Next: What Alanis’ song  
lyrics say about her.

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A Lyrical Coming of Age: Alanis Exposed in Song 

“Too Hot” (1991)
Always too hot, never too cold
You make your best shot, too hot to hold
Never too young, never too old
You gotta go for gold

“Ironic” (1995)
A traffic jam, when you’re already late
A no smoking sign, on your cigarette break
It’s like 10,000 spoons, when all you need is a knife
It’s meeting the man of my dreams, and then meeting his beautiful wife

“Thank U”(1998)
Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you, thank you silence

These are things that I miss
These are not times for the weak of heart
These are the days of raw despondence
And I never dreamed I would have to lay down my torch for you like this

“Guardian” (2012)
I’ll be your angel on call
I’ll be on demand
The greatest honour of all
As your guardian