Havoc and Bright Lights

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Havoc and Bright Lights
Alanis - Havoc and Bright Lights (Official Album Cover).png
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 22, 2012 (2012-08-22)
GenreSoft rock,[1] alternative rock
LabelCollective Sounds (USA); Columbia/SevenOneMusic (Europe)
Alanis Morissette chronology
Flavors of Entanglement
Havoc and Bright Lights
Live at Montreux 2012
Alanis Morissette studio album chronology
Flavors of Entanglement
Havoc and Bright Lights
Such Pretty Forks in the Road
Singles from Havoc and Bright Lights
  1. "Guardian"
    Released: May 11, 2012
  2. "Lens"
    Released: July 31, 2012[2]
  3. "Receive"
    Released: December 3, 2012[3]

Havoc and Bright Lights is the eighth (and sixth worldwide) studio album by Canadian-American singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette and was released in Japan on August 22, 2012. The album is her first release on Collective Sounds (distributed by Sony worldwide except by Universal in Canada [where Morissette was on predecessor MCA in early days] and Japan), and in the US by RED Distribution) and marks her first release away from Maverick Records, her label since 1995. It was produced by Guy Sigsworth and Joe Chiccarelli, the former having produced her previous album, Flavors of Entanglement (2008).

Havoc and Bright Lights received mixed reviews from music critics. Some praised Morissette's softer tones and production, while others found the album overproduced and lyrically weak. The first single released from the album was "Guardian".


In June 2011, Guy Sigsworth, producer of Morissette's Flavors of Entanglement, wrote on Twitter that he was in Los Angeles working with a "certain amazing Canadian lady".[4] On February 28, Morissette shared a video (shot in May 2011) of her recording a song, and Sigsworth's voice behind the scenes made it obvious she was working with him. In May 2011, Morissette shared a song called "Into a King", on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of her marriage, which was co-written with Sigsworth. She also recorded "Magical Child" for the compilation album Every Mother Counts. In November 2011, Morissette appeared on the American Music Awards, saying she had written 31 songs and had to choose the final twelve for the record.

Rolling Stone magazine announced that Morissette's new album would be released in June 2012 and shared the titles of songs "Havoc" and "Celebrity". The magazine also wrote that nearly every tune has a monster chorus.[5] On May 2, Billboard magazine wrote that Morissette's new album would be released on August 28, 2012 through Collective Sounds. The album was distributed by Sony's RED in the States.[6] On May 23, the album became available for pre-order at Amazon.com.[7]


In February 2012, Morissette announced a summer European tour to promote Havoc and Bright Lights. Pre-sale started on February 8, while tickets went on sale on February 10. The first show took place Monday, June 25, 2012 in Birmingham. The first three tour dates, all in the United Kingdom, were sold out weeks before the tour started.[citation needed]


The album's lead single, "Guardian", was premiered on radio on May 11, 2012 and was made available for digital download on May 15.[6]

"Lens" was released as the second digital single and was made available for download on July 31, 2012.[8]

"Receive" was confirmed as the third single from the album. It was sent to radio airplay on October 12, 2012 in Italy and was released worldwide on December 3, 2012.

According to Morissette's Facebook page in April 2013, a video for her song, "Big Sur" was shot. The song is available on the deluxe edition of the album, exclusively sold through Target Stores.[9]

In May 2013, a music video for the song "Empathy", directed by her drummer Victor Indrizzo, was released through social media.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[12]
American Songwriter3.5/5 stars[13]
The A.V. ClubB-[14]
Consequence of Sound3/5 stars[15]
The Independent1/5 stars[16]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[19]
Slant Magazine2.5/5 stars[20]
USA Today2.5/4 stars[21]

Havoc and Bright Lights received mixed reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 55, based on 17 reviews, which indicates "mixed or average reviews".[11] Many critics first complimented the album's more mature and warmer sound. Holly Gleason from Paste gave it a positive review.[18] She stated "Twenty years later, the lithe songwriter embraces the same hybrid notion of introspection and sonics that are anything but singer/songwriterly. [Havoc and Bright Lights] embodies relief, release and refuge [...] Without being florid or cosmic, she beckons to a far more graceful, honest world."[18] Sarah Rodman from The Boston Globe praised the album's "crisp, tuneful, warm, and sincere" tone, as well as the production of the album. However, she was critical on the album's songwriting stating that songs "Celebrity" and "Win and Win" were "clunkers".[22] Nick Levine from BBC Music was equally positive saying the album brought out a more "mellow [Alanis] Morissette". However, he was critical on the production saying it was "too slick".[23] Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic said the album "is as soothing as a Sunday afternoon nap or a warm bath: it's music for when you know you're right where you want to be."[12] At American Songwriter, Eric Allen called the album an "intelligent and inspiring" work that has "winning results".[13] The A.V. Club's Annie Zaleski found "Havoc And Bright Lights remains fearless and vibrant despite its shortcomings."[14] Elysa Gardner of USA Today said that Morissette finally has "found her bliss."[21]

However, the album did receive more scathing outcomes, mainly due to her musical style and her lyrical content, which was about spirituality and motherhood. Jonathan Keefe from Slant Magazine did state that Morissette's changes in music was her "best material", but said "Unfortunately, too many of the songs on Havoc lack that specificity and Morissette's inimitable POV [...] she spends most of the album sounding like she's leading a meditation."[20] Hermione Hoby from The Observer was critical towards the album. She stated "[Alanis Morissette] appears to be very happy and very into motherhood. Which is great for her, but less great for her music." She then said "For the most part these songs are entirely lacking in bite, dragging through limp soft rock and even softer sentiments."[24] Johan Wippsson of Melodic.net felt that Havoc and Bright Lights is "totally over-produced and completely lacks of any kind of soul."[25] Joseph Viney from Sputnikmusic was negative towards the album, criticizing her lyrical content (especially on the song "Celebrity"), and stating that "Not even some admittedly slick production can drag this out of the mire."[26] Hayley Avron from NME gave it 2 out of 10, resembling a negative review. Speaking of track "Woman Down", she said "The only real achievement here is an ironic one, as [...] Alanis somehow manages to make a feminist statement sound like a total affront to womankind" and stated the rest of the album was "teenage poetry, trowelled onto a bed of sift-rock cliché."[17] Simon Price from The Independent gave it a very scathing review, awarding it one star out of five. He criticized the album's softer music and change, saying "Morissette is the sort of woman who does yoga to ensure she can still gaze at her navel" while criticizing her lyrical content, production and her inclusion of a more spiritual and religious tone.[16]

Commercial performance[edit]

Havoc and Bright Lights debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 33,000 copies in its first week.[27] This became her first top five album in the US since 2004's So-Called Chaos and her sixth top ten album in the US overall. The album also debuted at number one on Billboard's Top Rock Albums and Top Independent Albums charts respectively.[28] As of October 2015, the album has sold 92,000 copies in the United States.[29]

Internationally, the album peakeda at number one in Canada, Italy, Austria and Switzerland, and at number two in the Netherlands and Germany,[30] where the album was also certified gold for shipments in excess of 100,000 copies.[31]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics are written by Alanis Morissette; all music is composed by Alanis Morissette and Guy Sigsworth.

Standard edition
1."Guardian"Joe Chiccarelli, Guy Sigsworth4:18
2."Woman Down"Chiccarelli, Sigsworth3:36
3."'Til You"Chiccarelli4:07
4."Celebrity"Chiccarelli, Sigsworth4:01
6."Lens"Chiccarelli, Sigsworth4:08
7."Spiral"Chiccarelli, Sigsworth4:17
9."Havoc"Chiccarelli, Sigsworth5:53
10."Win and Win"Chiccarelli5:01
12."Edge of Evolution"Chiccarelli4:29
Total length:52:38
Deluxe edition bonus tracks
13."Will You Be My Girlfriend?"Chiccarelli, Sigsworth4:09
14."Magical Child"Chiccarelli, Sigsworth5:07
iTunes deluxe edition bonus track
15."Jekyll and Hyde" (featuring SoulEye)Sigsworth2:43
Target bonus tracks
13."Big Sur"Chiccarelli, Sigsworth4:06
14."Guru" (featuring. SoulEye)Sigsworth4:06
Amazon bonus track
Japanese bonus track
Disc 2 (Live tracks)
1."I Remain" (segue 1)MorissetteMike Elizondo2:49
2."Woman Down"Morissette, SigsworthChiccarelli, Sigsworth3:32
3."You Learn"Morissette, Glen BallardBallard4:45
4."Guardian"Morissette, SigsworthChiccarelli, Sigsworth4:59
5."Hands Clean"MorissetteMorissette4:48
6."Citizen of the Planet"Morissette, SigsworthSigsworth4:47
7."Ironic"Morissette, BallardBallard4:08
8."Head over Feet"Morissette, BallardBallard4:58
9."You Oughta Know"Morissette, BallardBallard5:30
10."Numb"Morissette, SigsworthChiccarelli6:25
11."Hand in My Pocket"Morissette, BallardBallard5:15
12."Uninvited"MorissetteMorissette, Rob Cavallo5:59
DVD (Amazon.de Exclusive 3-Disc Premium Edition)
1."You Learn"Morissette, Ballard 
2."Guardian"Morissette, Sigsworth 
3."Ironic"Morissette, Ballard 
4."Head over Feet"Morissette, Ballard 
5."You Oughta Know"Morissette, Ballard 
6."Numb"Morissette, Sigsworth 
7."Hand in My Pocket"Morissette, Ballard 
  • B-sides from the album include "Into A King" and "Naysayers", both fully produced by Guy Sigsworth. "Into A King" was streamed online to commemorate Morissette's wedding anniversary in 2011, and then appeared as a b-side to "Big Sur" in 2014. "Naysayers" surfaced online in 2015.


  • All vocals: Alanis Morissette
  • Drums: Matt Chamberlain, Victor Indrizzo
  • Percussion: Victor Indrizzo
  • Bass: Paul Bushnell, Sean Hurley
  • Keyboards: Jeff Babko, Joe Chiccarelli, Zac Rae, Guy Sigsworth
  • Electric Guitar: Chris Elms, David Levita, Tim Pierce, Lyle Workman
  • Acoustic Guitar: Mike Daly, Chris Elms, Tim Pierce
  • Drum Programming: Joe Chiccarelli, Guy Sigsworth
  • Additional Programming: Chris Elms
  • Woodwind Arrangements on "Havoc": David Campbell
  • Violin on "Numb": Lili Haydn



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Germany (BVMI)[60] Gold 100,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label Edition(s)
Japan[61] August 22, 2012 CD, digital download Universal Music Group[62]
Austria[61] August 24, 2012 TBA
Australia[61] August 31, 2012 Sony Music Entertainment


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External links[edit]