There was little hope of Alanis Morissette sustaining the humongous success of her breakthrough Jagged Little Pill and it’s unlikely that she or her fans expected her to. That watershed release was followed up with the difficult but sturdy—and rewarding, if given the chance—Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, which only succeeded at whittling Morissette’s fanbase of no less than 14 million down to a more manageable single-digit-platinum number. For those fans, The Collection, like last summer’s Jagged Little Pill Acoustic, will be an essential purchase. It’s the first Morissette release to include the studio version of the glorious soundtrack hit “Uninvited,” a song that, at the time, seemed to assure her post-Pill success. (The fact that the song was left off the already lengthy Junkie album, which was released only a few months later and could have used the built-in hit insurance, was prophetic.) But “Uninvited” isn’t the only asset for those who already own most of Morissette’s catalog: Also included here is another soundtrack cut, “Still” (from Kevin Smith’s 1999 film Dogma, in which the singer played God), Jonathan Elias’s classical “Mercy” (on which Morissette is featured), “Princess Familiar” from Alanis Unplugged, the feminist anthem “Sister Blister” (which, though welcome, wasn’t the best song from her surprisingly consistent b-sides album Feast on Scraps), and a new, faithful cover of Seal’s “Crazy.” In terms of hits coverage, “You Outta Know” is presented in its album format rather than the harder radio mix, and the various rarities left no room for the mod-rock radio hit “All I Really Want” and Junkie singles “Unsent” and “So Pure.” There’s no reason singles like “Precious Illusions” (which isn’t, but should be, here), “Everything,” and “Eight Easy Steps” couldn’t have been sizeable chart hits, but The Collection nonetheless documents an impressive career, even if it does (perhaps wisely) eschew Morissette’s pre-history for what she herself considers her finer moments. Maybe it’s true that the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
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