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Matchbox 20

Yourself or Someone Like You ~The sound of Southern rock gets a facelift for the '90s on Yourself or Someone Like You, the record that made Florida's Matchbox 20 a success story. Rob Thomas's charismatic and passionate vocal delivery carries this collection of captivating, personal-story songs, based on honest, heart-felt lyrics rich with cathartic emotion. Anyone who's felt so scarred by love that they can't imagine taking the chance of getting hurt again will relate to a song like "Push" (an exhilarating feminist anthem disguised as just another relationship-on-the-rocks song). A much-needed break from the alternative pack. --Gail Worley

Alanis Morissette

Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie~When Alanis Morissette visited Mother India in 1997, she gained new composure and, in a state of numinous bliss, wrote 17 songs for Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, each suffused with the search for enlightenment and self-knowledge. To the likely dismay of many fans, Morissette now rages at herself. But this long-awaited follow-up to 1995's record-smashing Jagged Little Pill is far from a disappointment. Imbued with dark, swirling psychedelic licks borrowed from Jimmy Page's song book, the disc is paradoxically both more enigmatic and revealing than Pill. And while Junkie shows that Morissette is no less stingy about revealing herself to her fans--her staccato stream-of-consciousness style is again employed to surrender her secrets and foibles a little too easily in these tales of abuse, lost love, and self-flagellation--Junkie also makes one wonder what this musical sphinx holds back. In "Baba" she takes on competitive spirituality, sneering at the fashionable grasp for enlightenment. "Would Not Come" returns to a similar theme--taking us on a tour of her diary. "Would Not Come" and "Your House" offer the only hints of sexual innuendo. The only revenge she wreaks on an errant lover is in the percussive "Are You Still Mad," this time dishing up a much subtler payback than on "You Oughta Know." The record's standouts, meanwhile, are "Thank U" and the hip-poppy "So Pure." One complaint (and there is only one): Morissette's rapid-fire wordplay is at times engulfed by ponderous instrumentation. The worldbeat rhythms and elaborate guitar play add fresh twists to the album, but they also sometimes bury her message. --Jaan Uhelszki



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