Rhymes With Rich

MEREDITH BROOKS HAS WRITTEN A happy little song called ""Bitch.'' She hopes the song - a post-feminist celebration of moodiness - will strip the word of ""its negative meaning by owning it.'' It probably won't. But it will sell albums: ""Bitch'' has flooded radio, and Brooks's first solo album, Blurring the Edges, just debuted at No. 25 in Billboard.

If you let her, the thirtyish songwriter will sweetly ramble on about being earth-friendly and taking care of our children. But her long hair, willowy figure and spirited anthems of female self-empowerment have invited many comparisons to screech queen Alanis Morissette - too many. ""I don't find any similarities,'' she insists. ""My whole album is about resurrection. I don't know what her album is about.'' For the record, Brooks is not angry, and she doesn't hate men. She's more of a Cosmo girl - upbeat and proudly feminine, with politics you don't want to examine too closely. ""I'm a bitch, I'm a tease/I'm a goddess on my knees,'' she sings. ""So take me as I am/This may mean you'll have to be a stronger man.''

Brooks grew up in Corvallis, Ore., and has lived off singing and songwriting since graduating from high school at 15. Her pop spiritualism found her out of sorts with the music scene. ""I didn't find a niche in grunge,'' she says. ""Nobody was interested in my style because it was too hopeful. But people get tired of being hopeless.'' One of a handful of female lead guitarists, Brooks knows just how to hit a perfect hook - which helps overshadow some of her more unsubtle lyrics. But who cares about subtlety? It's her unabashed cheer - over any attempt to play it cool - that makes her songs so winning.