A-Z: Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill (album)
Ah, one of those albums that I think most people my kinda age own!! Girls inparticular, though she has lots of male fans too. Definitely an album that helped to shape my taste in music. Maybe not as significantly as International Velvet, though it did pre-date it by a couple of years. It was released at a time when I hadn’t really been into much recent and popular music and would mostly just listen to Queen and a few other random things. Anyway, for some reason I started listening to the radio when I went to bed at night. To start with I think it was to help me get to sleep, but then I discovered Chris Moyles on local radio (Chiltern FM) and just found him hilarious. I then started listening just to listen to him, though obviously I also got to hear lots of music. As is usual with local radio, you get quite a mix of stuff – some stuff that’s in the charts, plus some classic type songs. This was just right for me at the time really and there were 2 songs inparticular that I really took to – one being Joan Osborne’s ‘One Of Us’ (which I’ll get to another time) and the other being Alanis’ ‘Ironic’. As a result I ended up putting both albums on my Christmas list that year and got them both 🙂 I was actually expecting to prefer Joan’s, but I didn’t really take to it at all and instead fell in love with Jagged Little Pill! I listened to this album a lot!! It’s varied and passionate and yeah a bit angry, but happy in places too (well, Head Over Feet at least)!! There’s not a bad song on it and it’s a perfectly formed album.
‘Perfect’ – I rarely listen to this song now, though it was actually one of my instant favourites. I just loved the lyrics to it. “We’ll love you just the way you are, if you’re perfect”.
‘Hand In My Pocket’ – Hee hee, this makes me think of a cover I once heard of this song. I can’t remember who it was by – no-one well known or anything – but my Dad had been given it by someone and played it for me. The funniest bit was that the guy singing it changed the ‘I’m brave but I’m chicken shit’ line to ‘I’m brave but I’m so afraid’. Ha ha. I can’t listen to that line now without thinking about that!
‘Right Through You’ – Another instant fave. I haven’t listened to it in ages actually, I’m re-realising how great it is.
‘Forgiven’ – Another favourite. I think this song’s amazing – the lyrics, the style, the passion… there’s just something about it that kinda blows me away. “My brothers, they never went blind for what they did, but I may as well have” – brilliant!
‘Track 13’ – Ah, the alternative version of ‘You Oughta Know’, followed by the acapella ‘Your House’. The first time I listened to this album I stopped it during ‘You Oughta Know’ as didn’t look at the track number and figured it had gone back to the beginning!! I listened to the album again later that day though, with my sister, and as we were doing other stuff at the same time, we just left it playing, without my having realised it had played ‘You Oughta Know’ twice again. Anyway, there was then the silence, so we figured the album had finished, but just left it. So then when ‘Your House’ started up we were both taken somewhat by surprise! I’m pretty sure it was my first encounter of a secret track. I didn’t understand how I hadn’t heard it the previous time I’d played the album as thought I’d played it right through. I looked at the track number then and realised it was number 13 – a number not on the tracklisting. Ooh, the novelty! Jade and I were somewhat in awe. The song then finished and the CD stopped playing. I then skipped the CD back to track number 13, to check that this mystical song was still there, but when I pressed play what came on? The alternative ‘You Oughta Know’ of course! This totally blew my mind as I still hadn’t realised that song was on the album twice in slightly different versions. So then Jade and I started to wonder where on earth this magical song without music had come from and where on earth it had gone!!! Ha ha. Obviously we figured it out at some point, but it was really spooky for a while!

Alanis Morissette – Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (album)
After having played Jagged Little Pill so incessantly, I was really looking forward to this album being released. Initially I wasn’t sure what to make of it to be honest. It’s got less of a pop-element to it than JLP – the music and lyrics are more sort of fractured, if that’s the right word. There are some instant songs on it – things like So Pure and UR – but there are quite a few that really needed time to grow on me. They did though and in some ways I actually prefer it as an album now. It was initially really difficult to sing along to some of the songs, because of the way the lyrics are quite disjointed and in irregular patterns – but once you pick up those patterns it actually makes it really satisfying to be able to sing along. ‘The Couch’ inparticular I really grew to love singing along to, because of the lyrics and the odd flow of it. It’s quite a long album with 17 tracks running to about an hour and 12 minutes, but it never seems that long as the songs are varied and consistently good. It’s a shame that it didn’t get anywhere near the amount of success and attention that JLP did, but I guess that was to be expected after the hugeness of that album.
‘Unsent’ – Ah, definitely my instant favourite on the album! The lyrics are unsent letters to guys Alanis liked. And my personal liking of it naturally had nothing to do with the fact that one of the letters starts off ‘Dear Marcus, you rock my world’ and I happened to like a guy called Marcus at the time! He he. So easily pleased.

Anyway, have v enjoyed listening to both of these albums today. I’ll leave the others for another time though.

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