Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill celebrates 20 Years with new commemorative release
At the onset of the Summer of 1995, the reimagined Alanis Morissette had emerged from her previous candy-coated TV star image as she embraced the Alternative genre full-throttle with the Emmy-Award winning Jagged Little Pill. Her controversially frank lyrics from songs like You Oughta Know give off a very personal feel, yet they resonated with females on a general level as well. The album should be celebrated as it generated numerous hit singles such as Hand In Pocket, Ironic, You Learn, Head Over Feet and All I Really Want. What is really nice about the album is that the singles weren’t the only notable songs, Forgiven is a powerhouse emo ballad that remains a fan-favorite and Right Through You has a You Oughta Know feel, where the lyrics tell the story of ‘hey dude, stop prejudging me, and quit checking out my butt‘. The album comes off at times with some strong issues with the male species. You Oughta Know is the most well-known, and has become an anthem for many different female groups. Up until recently, her live Grammy performance of the song was my favorite version, but very recently on Howard Stern she performed the song and it raised the hairs on my arms.
One of my favorite things about the 1990s was CDs. In the ‘90s, it was kind of cool and a little bit expected to include computer multimedia or at the very least a bonus ‘hidden’ track. Jagged Little Pill had a wonderful hidden gem called Your House which was a short solo acapella track. In my humble opinion, it feels as if Jagged Little Pill was written in the style of Elton John-Bernie Sanders, where the lyrics are complete and music is written around them. While Elton John had a sense of genius with how to compose amazing songs and melodies, Alanis Morissette and producer Glen Ballard did a very decent job. While the music can sound a bit choppy at times, the melody lines that Alanis sings are memorable and invite the listener to sing along with her.
Her 20th anniversary version release includes the Unplugged version that was released at the 10th anniversary, but it is nice to have its inclusion here as it was somewhat hard to get before this. Another disc in its 4-CD set is a very interesting live set from September 1995. The arrangements can sometimes greatly vary from the original studio album. The set sounds very rough, very raw – yet this does appeal to some folks. The most interesting disc is the one called Demos. I love that the songs are actually pretty good. They sound just as polished as the Jagged album. Right off the bat, The Bottom Line is simple wonderful. It makes me wonder how it was left off the original, it actually has a Joni Mitchell feel to it which is helped by Alanis’s falsetto, something we don’t hear too often. Superstar Wonderful Weirdos is definitely a throwaway track, especially with the same harmonica riff from Hand In Pocket. Yet the lyrics easily fit in with the Alternative fad of the day. Closer Than You Might Believe is another track that is on par with the rest of Jagged Little Pill, and I love the key change hook in the chorus. There are surprisingly 10 songs in total for the demos and for Alanis fans, this is the best reason to buy this. Getting a group of unheard (as far as I know) songs from the Jagged era is like striking gold.
This is surely something to revisit and celebrate with the artist as she empties her musical vaults to celebrate such a landmark album.