#160 Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill (1995)

As I stated earlier in my blog, there are not a lot of female artists on my list. Sometimes an artist catches lightning in a bottle, a moment of serendipity for the listener and the songs. Such was the case for “Jagged Little Pill”. Morissette had previously released 2 albums in her native Canada. They were teeny bopper dance records along the line of Debbie Gibson and Tiffany. The first one did very well but the second bombed, so MCA Canada released her from her recording contract. So at the ripe old of age of 20 she took the big leap and moved to Los Angeles where she worked on putting a demo together with producer Glen Ballard. “Jagged Little Pill” would be her international debut and was released in 1995. The first single released was “You Oughta Know” the edgiest song on the disc that bordered on rock. The bitter, angry lyrics are a dress down to an ex who had left her for another. She tackles such subjects as wondering if he is thinking of her while he is having sex with his new girlfriend & whether or not his new girlfriend would”go down on him” at the movies, not exactly made for pop radio stuff. And definitely not Debbie Gibson.The single did well and received some (edited) radio airplay. The key song that led to my purchase of this record was the single “Hand In My Pocket”, and it was the single that really started giving this album legs. It’s quirky lyrical contradiction is fun and it is an addictive,catchy song. It remains my favorite tune of this collection. The album’s 4th single was the big hit that drove this album to dizzying multi-platinum success. “Ironic” was a song that continually asked the listener a question, “Isn’t it ironic?”. Lost in translation, because many took it as a statement, and there in lies once again Morissette’s contradictory lyrical style. The other stand out track on this release is “You Learn”. “Jagged Little Pill” went on to sell 33 million copies worldwide and was the best-selling disc of the 1990’s (sorry Nirvana) and won 4 Grammy’s. I think this album was a catalyst for the female singer/songwriter explosion in the 1990’s, which makes it a groundbreaking offering in my eyes. Alanis has never again achieved the level of success that she garnered on “Jagged Little Pill”…but few would.

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