Alanis Morissette junkies, prepare to renew your infatuation: The singer’s publicist tells EW.com that her yet untitled new album, which was postponed from a June 12 release to the end of the year, will now appear in the fall — a few months earlier than expected. What’s more, the 27-year-old Morissette is currently showcasing songs from this follow-up to 1998’s ”Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie” on a 21-city European tour that kicked off earlier this month.
The album had been in limbo because Morissette was embroiled in a contract dispute with her label, Maverick — Madonna’s small Warner Bros. imprint — which signed her in 1994, shortly before she released her first rock smash ”Jagged Little Pill.” A source close to the singer says Maverick was reluctant to put out a new release while Morissette — who is said to have been considering competing offers of $5 million per record — was threatening to leave the label.
Neither Maverick nor Morissette’s rep at MSO would comment on the negotiations. But a statement issued by Madonna’s publicist, Liz Rosenberg, last week confirmed reports that the Material Mom personally met with Morissette to hash out the financial details of her contract. “There were some issues regarding Alanis and her relationship with Maverick,” said Rosenberg. ”But everyone, including Madonna, is thrilled everything has been worked out.”
No wonder. Morissette’s ”Jagged” sold a phenomenal 28 million copies, making her not only the label’s top-selling artist by far, but the top-selling female rocker of the ’90s. And although sales of her last two records have dropped (the critically praised ”Junkie” sold 2.8 million copies and her 1999 release, ”MTV Unplugged,” peaked at No. 63 on the Billboard charts), industry watchers say she remains a strong asset to Madonna’s label, where profits have fallen off in recent years.
What’s more, the current popularity of rockers like Radiohead and Staind bodes well for sales of Morissette’s upcoming release, says Geoff Mayfield, senior editor at Billboard magazine. ”This is a good year for rock,” Mayfield says. ”It’s not just one kind of rock that’s connecting right now — the palette is varied. For an artist [like Morissette] who comes from rock, this could be a fertile time.”
If so, Maverick execs must be pleased that Morissette’s new material recalls ”the edgier pop rock of ‘Jagged,’ and steers away from the moody, Eastern-influenced sound of ‘Junkie,”’ according to a recent concert review on SonicNet. Moreover, the new songs, though written and produced without Glen Ballard, are said to resemble her collaborations with that hitmaking producer who guided her transformation from an ’80s bubblegum pop star to the confessional ’90s rocker. And the lyrics to at least one percussion-heavy new tune, ”Bent 4 U,” are reminiscent of the wordy histrionics of her biggest hit ”You Oughta Know”: ”A million times a million ways, I feast on scraps from you,” she sings. We assume she’s not referring to Maverick.