Little Musical Surprises

Sam The Record Man

My musical memories include waiting for the weekly specials and new releases to be found at “Sam The Record Man”, Music World, Sunrise Records, A & A Records and Flipside Records to name few of the once many music shops found on Yonge Street and in the Mall across Canada. These weekly ads were a source of hope and surprise that a musical gem could be found among all the reduced prices. These ads were the basis of the list of music submitted to my parents that they might end up under the Christmas tree for opening on Christmas Day. As the five kids of the Dekker clan grown up, the number of Lps to be found waiting for unwrapping opening grew each year. It was a simple, but guaranteed “Like” from each of us.

The last couple of weeks saw two new projects that have brought music to my ears, one more than the other. Adele and Alanis each released new music. Adele “25” was a surprise, if you believed the planned leaks of information. Alanis released a 20th Anniversary edition of “Jagged Little Pill”, I was surprised almost to suggest I had to double check that it had indeed had been 20 years since I first heard it.

Adele 25

First, Adele…it’s not often full page ads are taken out to announce new music, this was done by Adele’s record company. By the time the ad came out, you been live under a rock to NOT hear her hit “Hello”. There is little surprise that this CD is very good from start to finish. I listened to it twice yesterday after getting back home and while “Hello” is the signature tune so far I had difficulty finding what I would select as the second song to be released to radio for ear to ear coverage on the airwaves.

With the deluxe 20th Anniversary edition of “Jagged Little Pill” (JLP) comes a Remaster of the original disc, the 2005 Acoustic version of JLP and an unreleased 1995 live performance of JLP.

JLP 20

The real gem of this package is the fourth disc, unreleased demos from the period of recording JLP. Alanis described these songs as ‘not making the cut’ by herself and Producer Glen Ballard. The 10 tracks that are ‘new’ make the substance of what could have been an amazing Double disc version of JLP or as a follow up to JLP if Alanis had not waited 3 years to release the actual sophomore disc “Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie”. The tracks here are fresh, bright and considering the tone of JLP, extremely optimistic and this is in spite of the fact that these are demos and not fully produced polished disc.

All 10 songs stand out in the set and listening to them you hear fragments of what will become later music from Alanis. Standouts are ‘Comfort’, ‘The Bottom Line’, ‘London’ and the best in my ears is ‘Superstar Wonderful Weirdos’ (both lyrically and musically). I must add that these are my standouts, but on the whole this collection is so good. The darkest piece ‘Death of Cinderella’ could easily have fit on the original JLP release. Here it comes across as growth and survival of what Jagged Little Pill was all about.

Whether you purchase the 4 or the 2 CD package of the anniversary edition, consider your purchase as a wanting to hear some great new music with an old classic for good measure. My new music rotation this week includes Adele from 2015 and Alanis circa 1995.

I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at

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