No pressure, no responsibility. Welcome to the new and improved world of Alanis Morissette. Not only is the alt singer-songwriter taking her time writing a follow-up to her last album, 2004's So-Called Chaos, but she's also decided to open for Matchbox Twenty on its current tour.
"It was as simple as they asked me," says Morissette, calling from Los Angeles. "I've known Rob [Thomas] briefly in little festivals we had done together, and he's a sweetheart. I thought it was a perfect no-pressure situation to promote this [upcoming] record in a more communal and fun environment, versus being shuttled around the planet.
"And the no-pressure aspect for me is huge," she adds. "I don't have to worry about filling seats or anything."
After spending the first decade of her career chasing the superstar status promised seemingly overnight with the smash success of 1995's Jagged Little Pill, which sold over 30 million albums worldwide, Morissette has recently taken a laid-back approach to recording.
Thus explains the four-year delay between So-Called Chaos and Flavors of Entanglement, which is due out this spring.
"I write when I need to write and when I'm about to explode," Morissette says. "I listen to my own inner rhythms. And this last time around, I did need a break because I was losing my shit. I took that break and then wrote the song when it was imperative."
With shit presumably back together, the 33-year-old Canada native connected with producer Guy Sigsworth (Bjrk, Madonna) roughly a year ago to work on new material. She says the resulting album is an interesting collaboration of her acoustic folk rock sounds and Sigsworth's electronica-influenced style.
In the hour-long set she's playing on tour, fans are getting a sneak peek. When not playing her hits, including a completely reworked version of "Hand in My Pocket," she's giving new tracks "Citizen of the Planet," "Moratorium," "Torch" and "Straitjacket" stage time.
"There was one song we were rehearsing for the tour, and my sphincter tightened because there was no electric guitar in it," Morrisette says. "And that's a real stretch for me. I'm a little uncomfortable when I'm out of my comfort zone, so that was a good sign.
"But not really that scared, just more excited, because my sensibility does lean toward loving techno, and Guy Sigsworth is a pure genius. To watch him in action is like watching a master."
Speaking of comfort zones, Morissette recently finished filming her first lead role, in the feature film Radio Free Albemuth, which is based on a Philip K. Dick novel of the same name. When asked about a release date for the film, Morissette's no-pressure, no-responsibility policy is unexpectedly revisited.
"I don't know thankfully, that's not my problem," Morissette says. "It's the first time that something has not been my problem."