The Blessing: And now for our own “Bigger Bang” theory: Evolution is overrated.

Dinosaurs ruled the Earth in 2005, when the Rolling Stones defied the odds — and the calendar — by T. rexing around like they still owned the joint. It's a look that Mick, Keef and Co. wear well, even after all these years.

The unexpected flashback began with “A Bigger Bang,” the Stones' latest album, which marked a long-overdue return to the gritty, stripped-down sound the band seemed to have abandoned over the past quarter-century.

Out went the glossy production, instrumental over-embellishment and that desperate, awkward desire to remain hip and relevant. (The Dust Brothers meet the Glimmer Twins? Please, never again. Not even in a parallel universe.)

Back in: Raw, urgent songs performed by a group that suddenly seemed hungry again.

As a result, the Stones went back to sounding like the Stones — self-derivative, to be sure, but still superlative, particularly on the album's best songs (the vicious “Oh No Not You Again,” the howling “Back of My Hand”). Who cares whether they acted their age? The headline is that they finally decided to act like themselves.

Putting a feather in their cap (or, more likely, in Keith Richards's tangled crow's-nest 'do): When the Stones landed at MCI Center in October, they were electrifying, summoning the sort of vitality that plenty of young punks a third their age will never match.

The band mates sustained the surge for most of the show, suggesting that their best days aren't all behind them.

Viva devolution!



The Bomb: We used to think Alanis Morissette just needed a hug. But now that she's changed her tune — or at least her instrumentation and arrangements — we're changing ours: Quick, somebody jilt her. Leave her. Deny her. Be her Mr. Duplicitous. Kick her dog. Insult her mom. Blame Canada. Whatever it takes, just bring back the Angry, Angsty Alanis.

Because the kinder, gentler version we heard on “Jagged Little Pill: Acoustic” simply won't do.

A decade ago, Morissette turned alternative radio on its ear with an outrageously good woman-scorned anthem, the choleric “You Oughta Know.” The caterwauling Morissette was indignant, irrational, even borderline psychotic in the song, which was something like a musical take on “Fatal Attraction,” with a monster hook and a funky beat. The scathing confessional had men cringing and women pumping their fists.

The rest of Morissette's “Jagged Little Pill” album had its moments, but “You Oughta Know” was the centerpiece, and it provided the galvanizing pop-music moment of 1995.

And then, 10 years later, Morissette had to go and ruin it by revisiting the entire album in acoustic form. Unplugging had the unfortunate effect of putting Morissette's grating bray and immature, Judy Blume-ish lyrics front and center. But worse, in stripping the songs of their instrumentation, Morissette also stripped away their energy and edge. Particularly on the now-serene-sounding “You Oughta Know,” the whole point of which originally was the outrage.

We're glad Morissette has found peace. We really are. But she should have left her best work alone. In its current, lifeless form, it's a bitter “Pill” to swallow.

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