Just because I am currently too overwhelmed by Pray for the Wicked to review it right now, I want to draw attention to another ground-breaking album that helped me through some really tough times. Everyone knows the nineties didn’t really end until about 2006 but I was still late to the party in 2011 when I was introduced to Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. Just before her movement into a more flower-power sound, Alanis Morissette released an album full of hurt, anger and a fuck you attitude I really needed as a teenager. Originally released in 1995, Jagged Little Pill contains some iconic and awesome songs that needed to be brought back to public attention (if they ever really left).
You Oughta Know
Jagged Little Pill is female empowerment to the extreme, filled with unforgiving lyrics and scathing emotion that is embodied in no other song better than ‘You Oughta Know.’ One of the best know songs from the album, it’s an anthem for heartbreak expressed in all out fury and resentment for your ex and their new partner. Who ever said women need to handle heartbreak delicately and act like wounded creatures? Not ‘You Oughta Know.’ The song gives voice to all the frustration and unfairness a break up can leave you with, containing some brilliant lines like ‘an older version of me, is she perverted like me?’ and ‘and every time I scratch my nails down someone else’s back, can you feel it?’ Beginning in a quiet and subdued parody of being happy for an ex before breaking out into the raw and real emotions we really feel.
One thing about Alanis Morissette’s music, especially Jagged Little Pill, is that the artist remains very private about the personalism of the songs meaning they can be opened fully to listener interpretation. ‘Perfect’ is made up of home hitting lyrics about not being good enough for your parents, partner or just the damn world. Whilst the theme of the song is a hard one to listen to, the overall mood of ‘Perfect’ is cathartic with Alanis really pushing those vocals to express all the pain others have made her feel.
Hand in my Pocket
After being stripped down by ‘Perfect’ we need something to lift our spirits back up and ‘Hand in my Pocket’ is the perfect song. Simple and to the point, ‘Hand in my Pocket’ takes everything life tires to throw at you and throws it right back. Riding on a wave of funky guitars and soothing harmonic, each verse couples a negative with a positive, reaching for that silver lining we can’t always see.
Whilst the lyrics of ‘You Learn’ might initially sound like something on a plaque hanging in your mum’s kitchen, the meaning and beauty of the song is deep rooted and truly inspiring. Alanis revealed that during the writing of ‘You Learn’ she was robbed at gunpoint and battled with the rise of panic attacks in the time that followed. Yet she still managed to push through and produce a successful album that has helped so many other people fight off their own demons. The chilled vibe of the song encourages you to let go of all the things from your past keeping you shackled and to not live in fear of them happening again. ‘You Learn’ doesn’t tell you that you’ll never experience pain, loss, or fear but it does tell you that you can turn them into something positive and beneficial to you.
Head Over Feet
‘Head Over Feet’ is heart breaking in a different way to other songs like ‘Perfect’ by making it obvious the narrator of the song is not sure what to do with the love she is receiving. Although we need songs like ‘You Oughta Know’ and ‘You Learn’ to know we can get through hardships, we also need ‘Head Over Feet’ to tells us of the life we get to live by remaining strong. The song is absolutely adorable and completely vulnerable as it tells the tale of two people who have known each other as friends only to realise they are also compatible as lovers. A sweet romance that still includes the fear we feel when finding love, ‘Head Over Feet’ is possibly the most honest love song you will ever come across.
Even if you have never heard of Alanis Morissette or Jagged Little Pill before, there is little doubt you will not have heard ‘Ironic’ in some variation. However, for those who haven’t, boy are you in for a treat. Another song that highlights how life really likes to fuck us over sometimes, ‘Ironic’ gives so many examples of moments when things seem to be going exactly in our favour only to be completely destroyed in the next moment. Another therapeutic song simply by putting frustration into words, there is at least one line for everyone to relate to, even something as simple as meeting the man of your dreams and then meeting his beautiful wife.
Although Jagged Little Pill achieved great success when it was released and will probably never fade into the background, it’s an album I needed to express my admiration and appreciation for. Jagged Little Pill taught me that life doesn’t need to be perfect to be beautiful and neither do we.
By Skye W.Winwood