Alanis Morissette is probably best known for her album “Jagged Little Pill” which was released back in 1995. “Jagged Little Pill” was a hit with such memorable and angry songs as “You Oughta Know,” “Hand in My Pocket” and “You Learn.” Morissette became known for somewhat aggressive songs and pointed lyrics. Her following albums began to withdraw from the angry angst-filled “Jagged Little Pill” and included songs about love, loss and self-growth.
Alanis Morissette’s intelligent and thought-provoking lyrics create a smart collection of beautiful music. Though “Jagged Little Pill” was a major hit with the public, her following albums display some of Morissette’s best work in regards to lyrical and personal growth. Beyond “Jagged Little Pill,” these are the top ten songs by Alanis Morissette.
1. That I Would Be Good (MTV Unplugged, 1999): “That I Would Be Good” explores the true depth of love and feeling. It expresses our collective hope that no matter what happens or what we do in our lives, we can find someone who will see us as something important. That we can always be good in one person’s eyes-regardless of health, looks, money or lack of willpower. “That I Would Be Good” explores the wonder we all feel-if we lost a certain something, would we still matter-would we still be loved?
“That I would be loved
Even when I am not myself.
That I would be good
Even when I am overwhelmed.”
2. So Unsexy (Under Rug Swept, 2002):
“I can feel so unsexy for someone so beautiful
So unloved for someone so fine.
I can feel someone so boring
For someone so interesting
So ignorant for someone of sound mind.”
“So Unsexy” discusses the insecurity we all feel. It’s an exploration of self-doubt, but beyond that feeling useless and unskilled when we know we have skills, we have beauty, we have important things. Still, no matter how self-confident each person is, we can’t help but feel self-doubt.
3. “Knees of My Bees” (So Called Chaos, 2004): “Knees of My Bees” is a love song. It discovers one relationship by the commonalities of the two people in love, the admirable qualities of the other, and beyond the simple reality of what the partner in the relationship is, how it makes the singer feel. “Knees of My Bees” is somewhat unconventional because it goes beyond the clichÃ?Â©d ideas of love into the actuality of love, of a relationship, and then the feeling.
“You are a sage who is fueled by compassion,
comes to nooks and crannies as balm for our scars.”
4. “This Grudge” (So Called Chaos): “This Grudge” explores some of the anger and angst that is part of the “Jagged Little Pill” album. The lyrics explore the journey of the grudge that is held toward this person-how the singer wishes to let it go, but it has become a part of her. “This Grudge” explores scars and pain we all keep close and can’t seem to let go.
“You’ve been vilified, used as fodder
You deserve a piece of every record.
But who’s it hurting now?
Who’s the one that’s stuck?”
5. “Unsent” (Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, 1998): “Unsent” is a song that is basically a collection of letters-and inferring from the title of the song, unsent. The letters are to men that the singer had relationships with in the past. “Unsent” really explores the quality of the relationship and where it took the singer-what was learned, what changed, what good and what bad came from it. I think everyone at some point takes a look at past relationships if only to learn where they’ve come from and how they got to where they were.
6. “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love) (Delovely Soundtrack): This song is not written by Alanis Morissette, but by Cole Porter. Still, her rendition on the Delovely Soundtrack is beautiful. The tune is catchy and fund and brings a certain modernity to this classic.
7. “No Pressure Over Cappuccino” (MTV Unplugged): “No Pressure Over Cappuccino” is from Alanis Morissette’s MTV Unplugged record. The lyrical exploration of one person’s personality is one of Morissette’s best talents.
“You may never be or have a husband
You may never have or hold a child
You will learn to lose everything
Be a temporary arrangement.”
These lyrics speak to all of us-what we expect of our lives and what exactly it is a life means. Each of us will lose something and every life, no matter how big, is temporary.
8. “You Owe Me Nothing In Return” (Under Rug Swept): “You Owe Me Nothing in Return” explores the tendency we each have to allow some person to walk over us in the name of love. There is a sarcastic edge to the song, which each listener may interpret differently.
“You can ask for space for yourself and only yourself and I’ll grant it.
You can ask for freedom as well, or time to travel and you’ll have it.
You can ask to live by yourself or love someone else and I’ll support it.
You can ask for anything you want anything at all and I’ll understand it.”
“You Owe Me Nothing” is a complex song about feeling and relationships. Morissette does an excellent job exploring each complexity-open for interpretation.
9. “U R” (Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie):
“Hopeful, you are
School bound, you are
NaÃ?Â¯ve, you are
Driven, you are.”
“U R” is a fun song, again exploring a person, a relationship. It explores the juxtapositions and somewhat opposing nature that each person has within themselves. How easy it is to appear to have one personality trait that seems directly opposite of a trait that you also hold.
10. Out is Through (So Called Chaos): “Out is Through” explores the second thoughts that often help in a relationship, and how these second thoughts are best healthily dealt with.
“My tendency to do away feels natural and
My urgency to dream of softer places feels understandable,
But I know the only way out is through.”
Alanis Morissette thrives on exploring complexities, sharp imagery and a strong tie to the self. Her best songs explore these issues lyrically and musically to form touching music that can make you reevaluate your own self.