Alanis Morissette Should Have Stopped Making Music After Jagged Little Pill Was Released
Like scrunchies and Clarissa Explains It All, Alanis Morissette is an integral part of the '90s.
The Canadian singer/songwriter's enjoyed a solid eight-album career, but there's no denying that she peaked with 1995's seminal Jagged Little Pill. A more pop-minded Exile in Guyville or a grunge-lite update on Blood on the Tracks, it's a remarkable collection that's held up for 17 years, a Top 40 record packed with genuine human emotion.
Of course, the casual Alanis Morissette fan may be surprised to learn that Jagged Little Pill is her third album. The stuff before was grunge, right? Or maybe she was a riot grrl? Nope: She was a teenage pop star much like a real-life Robin Sparkles, imitating Paula Abdul on records like Alanis and Now Is the Time. The records sound nothing like the angst-y or hippie-ish Morissette that American audiences have grown accustomed to.
And neither really got her that far outside of the Great White North. After Now Is the Time, Morissette started spending time in Los Angeles, where she was robbed. This incident left a mark, along with relationship woes (involving a certain Full House cast member? We may never know) but she funneled it all into Jagged Little Pill, creating one of the greatest breakup albums of all time.
Case in point: "You Oughta Know." The lyrics are brutal, as a scorned Alanis resentfully sings, "Every time I scratch my nails down someone else's back I hope you feel it." Her voice sounds vicious, and it doesn't hurt that Dave Navarro and Flea (of Red Hot Chili Peppers/Jane's Addiction/being married to Carmen Electra fame) were guest musicians on the track. The '90s were a time for female empowerment, and Morissette was all about it. Gals wore their sweaters backwards and inside out without worry, and it was fine for ladies to be broke and happy, lost and hopeful, and young and underpaid, because everything will be fine, fine, fine (the lesson I gleaned from "One Hand in My Pocket").
And then there was her megahit, the surprisingly unironic song "Ironic." It may pop into your head every time a wedding gets rained out or some quirky girl sings in the car, but at least College Humor got it right.