On Friday, Alanis Morissette released the fourth single from her ninth album ‘Such Pretty Forks In The Road’ – which is due to be released at the end of this month. The song is notably darker than the other three singles from this album, and the lyrical content seems to be about her ex-manager; who was sentenced to 6 years in jail in 2017 for stealing over $7 million for Morissette (“Now that we all know better, you’ll be haunted / I hope you enjoy these drawings in your jail”).
‘Reckoning’, however, is more than just a song focused on Morissette’s own troubles, it’s a triumphant anthem that stands up for the vulnerable against predators. In ‘Reckoning’ Morissette stands up against the self-hating phrases that victims of predators often tell themselves – I.E. ‘I should’ve known better’ – (“You didn’t know the house was on fire / And so you walked, as you should”). In the course of three and a half minutes, Morissette pours her heart out, touching on themes of innocence, victimhood and justice.
Like Morissette’s two previous singles – ‘Smiling’ and ‘Diagnosis’ – ‘Reckoning’ is slower and more atmospheric than much of Morissette’s previous work. While there’s nothing wrong with this (and it is interesting to see a change of pace from the singer), I do hope that the rest of the album doesn’t all sound like this. While Morissette is perfectly capable of pulling off a slower, more ballad-like song, her vocals are best complimented by a faster, more up-tempo instrumental – like that in ‘Ironic’ and ‘Your Oughta Know’. Morissette explored this sound in her first single from this album ‘Reasons I Drink’ and, I hope that ‘Reasons I Drink’ was a precursor to more similar-sounding music, rather than being a fluke. Nevertheless, in isolation, ‘Reckoning’ is a strong single from Morissette and is one of the most emotionally raw songs to come out of 2020. I’m excited to see what the rest of the album is going to sound like.