The first 30 seconds of Jagged Little Pill preface the entire album ingeniously. It not only features the iconic combination of harmonica and angry guitar riff, but opens with lyrics that are definitive of Alanis Morissette’s mid-’90s image as a whole.
She talks about how her sweater’s inside-out and asks, does she stress you out? Her apathetic attitude is saturated with maturity and confidence, which is only enhanced by the fact that it embodies every single attribute of her generation’s outlook. Alanis’s powerful vocals carry the track through to the point near the bridge where the music stops and suddenly continues with fire. This little tactic has got every listener on their toes.
They certainly don’t make music like this anymore.
As if that wasn’t enough, “All I Really Want” is followed by the profound classic “You Oughta Know.” No music can ever be compared to this piece of artistry. The song quickly brings on a storm of angst and power, telling us about how “Mr. Duplicity” has pissed her off. It’s lyrically brilliant in the way it details certain scenes that went down during a nasty breakup. Since this album’s release, no words have ever been as picturesque or definitive as when she asks “Every time I scratch my nails down someone else’s back/I hope you feel it/Can you feel it?,” we can feel it. No, really, we can.
As if that wasn’t enough of a ’90s throwback, fans later learned that “You Oughta Know” was written about Full House actor Dave Coulier. Yep, Alanis went down on Uncle Joey in a theater.
The buildup from these powerful melodies allows for some time to cool off when Jagged Little Pill features “Perfect,” a slow jam about pressures and stresses, something relatable for anyone. Once this confidence booster is through, listeners are ready for the attitude they signed up for. “Hand in my Pocket” keeps the consistent rhythm of sarcasm and indifference that backed the wide success of the record as a whole. It uses a poetic type of classical lyrical techniques that hadn’t been attempted in decades.
After “Right Through You” and “Forgiven” display the vocal talent at hand, we’re graced with the wonder of “You Learn.” It provides a break from the fiery frustration yet still proves to have soul through its repetition and humility. There it goes again with its iconic beauty and all.
“Head Over Feet” yet again words itself brilliantly, providing the words that shaped a generation. It speaks of love beyond the lines and attraction regardless of inhibitions. Its metaphors are young, but mature, simple, but detailed. The scenarios we hear about are everyday circumstances, but every song sounds like it’s happened for the first time. How does she do it?
Jagged Little Pill is consistent in bringing through the hits one after another. Near the end of the CD, “Ironic” details the situations we’ve all been through, and stresses irony that comes around every corner.
It’s funny how everyone can relate to this track not only because they’re human, but because the song is so convincing.
This work of talent earned Morissette some well-deserved Grammys and later the title of bestselling female rock artist of all time. That’s feminism and achievement at the young age of 22.
Hats off to this chick: Jagged Little Pill is the essential decade of persuasive caterwauling that brought together so many elements of fine music-making and defined a generation.