“Surrendering” applauds persistence. “So Unsexy” implies that it’s unproductive to dwell on perceived rejections (“little abandonments seem to sting so easily”). A young woman strives for a healthier sense of self on “Precious Illusions.” “You Owe Me Nothing in Return” promises a partner “countless amounts of outright acceptance,” however . . .
Her willingness to love with no strings attached includes the promise, “You can ask to live by yourself or love someone else and I’ll support it.” Despite listing some noble qualities, “21 Things I Want in a Lover” also demands an “uninhibited,” “experimental,” three-times-a-week sex partner. “Narcissus” tries to condemn selfishness, but profanities and crass expressions get in the way. While vague, “Hands Clean” is reportedly the singer’s recollection of a forbidden sexual relationship she shared with a much older man when she was about 14 years old.
“Utopia,” a song that yearns for grace, companionship and unconditional acceptance, leads not to the cross, but to a therapy group. That’s Morissette’s idea of paradise. Consequently, Under Rug Swept’s earnest soul-searching sputters, choked by confusion, an unhealthy worldview and a quest for fulfillment in amoral sexuality.