1995, Music

Jagged Little Pill (1995) by Alanis Morissette

If you were born in the late ’70s, or early or mid ’80s – and especially if you’re Canadian – you probably know at least five of these twelve songs whether you like it or not. (Certainly, at age 13, I was not happy to be subjected to these five songs ad nauseum.) If you’re younger than me, you might not have been aware that Morissette was a teen pop star – in Canada anyway – prior to this release. (I was barely aware).

Morissette has to be commended for having the balls (sorry) at such a young age to take such a drastic musical turn. Whether or not you like this music, this is no longer teen pop.

And I have to say that, though I might have hated her when she was ubiquitous, at least one of these songs is pretty close to an all time classic. I’m speaking of “You Oughta Know,” an angry, adult song that would have destroyed any preconceptions you had about Alanis as a teen pop star and which still stands up to this day as a fiery anthem against any older man who has exploited a young woman.

I can’t say that for much of the rest of the album. It’s single heavy – the stronger songs are the singles, pretty much exclusively – and even some of the singles aren’t great; most infamously, “Ironic,” which has been so endlessly parodied, for good reason. But aside from “Ironic” and its complete misunderstanding of irony, Morissette’s lyrics are above average, at the very least.

The problem for me is the sort of “pop grunge” production, which dates (parts of) the record rather horribly.

Still, it’s a brave move back when it was rather difficult for women to make brave moves in this industry. It’s better than a lot of shit we get force fed – or I guess I should say, we used to get force fed.


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