The other massive mega-album of the mid 1990s was “Jagged Little Pill” by Alanis Morissette. Released in 1995, this record was the #1 selling album of 1996. It is also the 69th rated album on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Alanis grew up as a successful, if somewhat depressed and unhappy child star in Canada, and she released two uber-pop dance albums as she reached early adulthood. Credit to her, she recognized there was something more she could offer and in parallel with her move to Hollywood, she paired up with producer Glen Ballard and co-wrote and created this album, a much harder-edge record that was built around her evolving views on life, sadness, betrayal and frustration.
The album opens with “All I Really Want”, the last of six singles released from the album, and it is a hypnotic opener that announced her new sound to the world. I don’t really remember this song, but I really liked it, perhaps as much as any song I didn’t recall previously from this record.
Public Service Announcement Time… I know less about the female gender than most people on this planet, but I do know this. If you meet or come across a woman who is jamming out to “You Oughta Know”, my advice is to turn around and run away as fast as you possibly can. She is most likely really angry, and if given the opportunity, would gladly murder you as collateral damage along with any other man she can find. One of the saltiest and most wonderfully angry songs ever, “You Oughta Know” is a fantastic rocker that speaks candidly to the raw emotions of watching someone you love leave you, and quickly move on with someone else. Two interesting observations on this song… First off, believe it or not, this song was allegedly written about her relationship with none other than Full House actor Dave Coulier. Yes, that is right, the inspiration for this hellfire of fury is none other than Joey and his animal voices and terrible jokes… “CUT IT OUT.” On a more relevant note, the guitar and bass on this song are provided by Dave Navarro and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I always liked this song, but once I realized how good that bass line was from Flea, it raised it up several notches for me.
I really do like all of the other big hits from this record as well, and remember this CD being on frequent rotation back in the day. “Hand In My Pocket”, “You Learn”, “Head Over Feet” and “Ironic”, even as the last song really tends to annoy my son, are all well-written songs and it is impressive how many big hits Morissette and Ballard were able to create for this record. Of the songs not on the charts, my favorites are “Perfect” and “Right Through You”, as they are both the ideal blend of guitar rock and infectious pop.
Alanis Morissette has had a long and successful career, but will always be defined by, and known for this monster record. There are worse things to be associated with, and along with Hootie and the Blowfish and the Spin Doctors, are three of the largest single-album success stories I can recall, at least certainly from this decade.
“You seem very well, things look peaceful, I’m not quite as well, I thought you should know…”
“Did you forget about me, Mr. Duplicity, I hate to bug you in the middle of dinner, it was a slap in the face, How quickly I was replaced, and are you thinking of me when you…”