101 of 110 people found the following review helpful
When you talk about the biggest albums of the 90s, you certainly have to talk about 1995's Jagged Little Pill. Alanis Morissette, to my mind, came to represent a version of the new woman of the 90s, leaving no questions as to her feelings and, some might say, demands. Decades ago, Aretha wanted R-E-S-P-E-C-T, but Alanis wants much more than that, and as far as I'm concerned, she deserves it. Apparently, at least one guy did Alanis wrong at some point; some women get mad, some get even - Alanis has the strength to do both. I for one love a strong woman.
To many, Alanis burst on the scene from out of nowhere with this mega-smash CD. I have one of her first two albums, so I know better. As a teenager, Alanis actually found stardom in Canada singing, of all things, bubble gum pop. I know - it's hard to believe. I don't think any artist has ever undergone such a radical transformation as Alanis did from her teen albums to Jagged Little Pill.
Do I even need to talk about the songs? Were any of these tracks not smash hit singles? It all started with You Oughta Know, which was a revelation of sorts to many radio listeners. Harsh, angry, a little perverted, cursed with a couple of those silly bleeps radio stations just have to use - this was something different, and it just so happened to rock, as well. Alanis says everything all the good girls wronged by bad guys want to say but cannot to the heels in their lives. Right Through You comes in from the other direction to hit the target; Alanis, as a new woman of the 90s, is far too smart to fall for all the shuck and jive guys try to sell the ladies. She knows what guys want, but she is not about to let herself become nothing more than a conquest some jerk can brag to his friends about. Experience has been one of her teachers, as described in the song You Learn. I think the song Forgiven plays into this theme, as well, although it's a little too complex a song for me to claim I fully understand it - it's got some of the edgiest, most passionate lyrics on the album, though. Of course, nobody's Perfect (clever segue, eh?), and life truly has a painful tendency to be Ironic at just the wrong times, but don't dismiss Alanis as some angry psycho-beast. She knows and likes herself, she knows what she wants (Not the Doctor vividly describes what she does not want), and Hand in My Pocket proves she is perfectly all right out there on her own. Wake Up, she urges the rest of us, and go get what you want rather than pining away waiting for it to find you. That very love that sends a person completely Head Over Feet is still possible - although you might have to go through a long line of jerks to find it. You don't have to become like Mary Jane, letting yourself waste away without hope.
In the end, Jagged Little Pill is not as angry an album as it might first appear. This music is all about self-empowerment, standing up and believing in yourself, living life with both eyes open and a never-dying sense of hope. I think a spirit of optimism runs through this music, negating the angry sentiment that lies on the surface. I've barely talked about the music itself from this album, and part of the reason why, I believe, is the fact that Jagged Little Pill is one of those rarest of albums, a collection of songs that transcends the music and speaks to the listener's mind and soul. Let it also be known, lest there be any doubt, that - to quote many a reviewer of music in this little online community of ours - this album totally rocks.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2007
An unfortunate axiom in music history is that rock music has been and perhaps always will be a male-dominated scene. That's not to say there haven't been any notable females in the history of rock music, but few of them were ever fully embraced. Then of course, there was Alanis Morissette. Her international debut "Jagged Little Pill" was released in 1995 to monumental success, earning the distinction of becoming one of the ten best-selling albums of all-time with over 30 million copies sold worldwide. Since then however, the album hasn't aged well due to public dissatisfaction with Morissette's follow-up albums, leading many to label "Pill" a fluke. Other detractors have condemned Morissette's lyrics and vocals and questioned whether or not she could ever be considered a legitimate rock musician. Though "Pill" does indeed have its flaws, it is still unquestionably one of the best rock albums to have ever been released. "The Dark Side of the Moon," "Hotel California," "Led Zeppelin IV," "Nevermind," "Back in Black," "The Wall," "Ten," "Exile on Main Street," and "Appetite for Destruction" are not immaculate by any standards but are still among some of history's most beloved rock albums. Each of them are considered pioneers in establishing rock music as groundbreaking, emotionally engaging music that told epic stories and appealed to millions upon millions of people over several generations. Though "Jagged Little Pill" may never earn the accolades it deserves, it belongs among the list of aforementioned albums as a true masterpiece. What makes it so remarkable is that it manages to run the gamut of emotions through the course of only twelve songs. Despite being pegged as an angry, bitter break-up album, it in fact, is overwhelmingly optimistic. Morissette's vocals are delivered with brazen conviction and her novel approach to songwriting astounded so many people upon first impression that Morissette established herself as a genuine one-of-a-kind talent. Glen Ballard's emphasis on melody over production helped "Pill" make an impact, but Alanis's emphasis on honesty over all else helped break down barriers for women in rock music, providing a voice to a demographic that was (and unfortunately still is) too often ignored. "You Oughta Know" and "Right Through You" are downright ferocious, "Ironic," "Hand in My Pocket", and "You Learn" are uplifting, "Perfect" and `Mary Jane" are tender, "All I Really Want," "Not The Doctor," and "Wake Up" are persevering. Both men and women alike connected with the themes in all of these anthems. Morissette provides a voice for every "underestimated, impatient little girl" and "trembling little boy with his head in his hands" who have had to overcome some form of overwhelming adversity in their life. "Jagged Little Pill" displays the work of a woman who had more wisdom at the age of 20 than most people gather in their entire life. People of all genders, races, ages, and orientations can find something endearing in this album and it is inarguably one of the most definitive classics in music history.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2002
Well, it seems like it's been a very long time since we've heard from Alanis Morissette, doesn't it? With her newest CD "Under Rug Swept" out now for not quite an entire month, I feel I should review "Jagged Little Pill" once more.
Coming out of the wave of late 80's "cutting edge" rap, Mariah Carey reaching her peak with albums like "Butterfly" and "Rainbow," and of course the Spice Girls/Hanson pop explosion, there were lots of different types of music floating around. When we turned on our televisions and saw a seemingly ordinary Canadian woman with a guitar, I think 98% of the world stopped to watch.
Alanis Morissette shocked (and pleased) everyone with her emotional world-debut single "You Oughta Know." It's just so easy to love every song on this CD, especially "You Oughtta Know" (Who can resist lyrics like "Does she know how you told me until you die-but you're still alive?")
The album has such amazing works on it.
3. Perfect is one of my favorites. The pressure people put on you, what they expect from you- it's just to exhausting sometimes. "We love you, if you're perfect" is often the feeling you get from parents or siblings. Anyone could relate to this song.
5. Right Through You is simply irresistible. "You scan the credits for your name and wonder why it's not there." "Narcissus" (On Under Rug Swept) sort of sounds like a follow-up to this.
7. You Learn is possibly my favorite of the album. You live, you learn, you lose, you learn. This is so universal and always sounds fresh. I love listening to it!
9. Mary Jane is a really odd song, but very soft compared the rest. It's a nice change in tempo.
10. Ironic is absolutely outstanding. She tells several stories with the lyrics and it too is a little bit softer than the other tracks.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2005
The honesty in her lyrics are what touches me to the core. Alanis manages to use playful qualities in her lyrics to capture the attention of the listener as she rattles off playful lines that are quick-witted and are easy to miss if the listener is not paying attention. Even simple lines like, "And all I need now is intellectual intercourse, A soul to dig the hole much deeper," shows that she thinks in an abstract way.
Every song on this album is meaningful and contributes to one of my favorite albums of all time. There isn't a song on here that I do not like. This is the first cd I purchased when I was a kid and all of the songs bring me back. I wasn't initially satified with every song until I heard the reinterpretation of the songs on her Jagged Little Pill Acoustic album and at her concert at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was fortunate enough to see her second concert in the tour and she was amazing. Her energy and personality shown through her lyrics and washed over me.
The lyrics get me thinking about growing up, the frantic thoughts of just living one day to the next, and what my past has done to my future.
Do yourself a favor and pick up this album. Not for the controversy of a song actually saying the word "f*ck" but because this music is art. This album didn't sell over 30 million copies worldwide for nothing. I have five copies of this cd that I managed to pick up in junk shops and I could always use more. That may make me sound like a loser...but...I have a weak spot for this beautiful Canadian rock singer.
23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2002
This is by far Alanis' best work and always will be. There really is no question why this record sold 14 to 20 million copies, being that from start to finish you get the ultimate music experience. It's a perfect fresh start the public needed after Kurt Cobain's death. Each of the songs are fresh, raw, and catchy, and the lyrics are honest and empathetic. Being a teenage girl, I can relate to and understand each and every lyric much better than I would have been able to five years ago when I received this as Christmas gift in 1996 at 11 and one half years. Oops! I just revealed my age and probally repelled the reader from finishing this. I liked the music, but could only understand some of the words which makes listening to this today two times the charm. Alanis was 21 when she wrote and recorded this, and though she was speaking of her own angst and pains, I'm sure she intended to reach out to other people in her age group including me. The music alone is great and the entire album is one large highlight. Here's a brief summary list of the songs and I how I interpereted and connected to the lyrics:
1) "All I Really Want" A request for an escape from stress and to take happiness in the things that really matter.
2) "You Oughta Know" Well, this is her first single, and I'm pretty sure we all know what this song is about. I'm avoiding dating but I can relate to similar situations with any jerk.
3) "Perfect" This song is basically about being pressured to satisfy everyone around you and not being accepted. Alanis specifically wrote it about parental pressure and her anorexia.
4) "Hand In My Pocket" This is a great catchy song, and I'm pretty sure it's about not having to be all or nothing: you can be satisfied in the middle and enjoy a variety, you get what I'm saying?
5) "Right Through You" Yeah! Couldn't have said it better myself! Listen to the song and you'll know what I mean.
6) "Forgiven" I'm not quite sure, but this song might be about religious pressure?
7) "You Learn" This song is about learning from your experiences and don't be afraid to experiment with life.
8) "Head Over Feet" This is basically just a love/friendship song. The music is better than the words.
9) "Mary Jane" This is an ode to a lost and confused grieving friend.
10)"Ironic" This many peoples' favorites and hence the title it's about irony in life.
11)"Not The Doctor" This is one of those songs I can relate to more than anything, it's about being fed up with having to be responsible for someone 24/7.
12)"Wake Up" This song is a message to people who are so dissatisfied with life, but don't do anything to improve.
13) "You Oughta Know" (reprise)
14) "Your House" An accapella. Boring.
I know a lot of people who own this album, and I don't hear any complaints.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2004
I never really liked Alanis until i heard "Ironic"..i then listened to her album and...wow, i jus completely changed my view on her. My personal favourite is "You Oughta Know", its just...rage and emotion, some think she's crazy, but..i think thats good music. Same goes to "Right Through U" and "Unforgiven". All the songs on this album are different from each other. They have different meanings and topics,no wonder why she won album of the year at the Grammys. I also love "Hand In My Pocket" and "You Learn". I love the harmonica in "Head Over Feet", u jus cant match it. "Mary Jane" really shows her vocal ability and her hittin the high notes, i guess u can call it the "ballad" on the album.Overall, whoever doesnt have this album..its a must, ur missin out.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2004
1995 belonged to an angst-ridden woman by the name of Alanis Morissette. Perhaps you have heard of her? ''Jagged Little Pill was released without much attention atteched to it, which resulted in landing Alanis Morissette's Jagged album the No. 117 spot on the album chart in the US. Howevever as ''You Oughta Know'' raced up the airplay charts and MTV played the video non-stop, it was a given that ''Jagged Little Pill'' would turn out to become a hot seller in the end. The album displayed with each single releases that it was filled with massive hit potential and everyone seemed to have a favourite among the various releases. Suprisenly the single releases weren't the only good offerings on ''Jagged Little Pill, the non-release tracks were top-notch material as well.
When the success-train ended, Jagged Little Pill had sold a massive 28 millions and became the biggest selling female album of all time. Now second to Shania Twain's ''Come On Over'' though it was still an impressive feist and still remains so.
The album teaser ''All I Really Want'' sets the album off to a perfect start. The demanding offering was a minor hit though by the time, it had been released everyone pratically own the album. Even to this day, I still enjoy putting this song on when I have had a day where I simply can't be bored anymore. As Alanis Morissette stats ''And All I Really Want Is Some Patience'' and I couldn't agree more. There jump-starter off the album ''You Oughta Know'' gathered the attention of listeners around the world with its confronting lyrics and heavy rock sound. It has become an athem for all the ''wronged'' female and males as well. The video sees Alanis Morissette in a desect with bare feet, raving and displaying the world her anger.
Another highlight would most certainly included the superb ''Ironic''. It managed to put Alanis on the map everywhere and sales of ''Jagged Little Pill'' rose though the roof. The song deals witall the ironic elements in life such as ''It's Like Meeting The Man Of My Dreams And Then Meeting His beautiful Wife''. Need I Say More? The verses are used to point out the ironic situations of life, whereas the chorus is packed with anger and frustation. ''Hand In My Pocket'' showcases Alanis fondness for checky lyrics. The contradinting lyrics are rather strange at times, however it works extremely well with the melody. It still remains one of my favourite Alanis Morissette songs ever.
''You Learn'' and ''Head Over Feet'' gave the public a different perspect of the now branded angst-ridden woman. ''You Learn'' had a less agressive sound to it and the message of essential feeling we all deal with thoughout life. We laugh, we cry, yet we continue to learn and devople. ''Head Over Feet'' is a statement of love to a lover. Perhaps to show Alanis' tender side, it was choosen as a single release. I still think there are better songs on the album than ''Head Over Feet'', however the need for diversity, in terms of subjects, are understandable.
In terms of non-single releases ''Right Through You'' is among my favourites on ''Jagged Little Pill''. It could easily have been a single and enjoyed success as well. It's quite an underrated gem, I believe Alanis played it on tour as well and it was an instant crowd pleaser. Alanis also displays other subjects on ''Jagged Little Pill''. From ''Perfect'' to ''Mary Jane'', the album contains more ''bashing'' the male species. ''Perfect'' is a mid-tempo rock ballad of being ''Perfect''. It's sung to a boy/girl by a parent. Sure the subject is interesting though I think it's one of the weaker offerings as I don't really care for the melody and Alanis' vocals.
People tend to complain of the Alanis' weak voice, however the hidden bonus track ''Your House'' (?) displays the need for a powerful voice isn't always needed to make a statement. Simplicity is the key factor. It just consits of Alanis and her voice. ''Forgiven'', ''Mary Jane'', ''Not The Doctor'' and ''Wake Up'' are good offerings as well, however the ones, mention above, are undenialable my choices of the best songs on ''Jagged Little Pill''. An ''alternative version'' of ''You Oughta Know'' is also found on the album, however it doesn't differ much for the original version. The point of adding it to the album still hasn't dawned upon me, so I will leave it as that.
So what is it about ''Jagged Little Pill'' that had/has an entire generation of teenagers captivate? Alanis Morissette was able to tap into the minds of teenagers around the globe with an album, consisitong of enjoyable ''rock'' songs. The subjects are universal and perhaps that explains one of the main reasons why the album is still relevant. Melody-wise and lyrically you will surely be able to find albums that are stronger, however ''Jagged Little Pill'' will always remain a favourite of mine. It basically defined the mid 90's of my life and perhaps that is the reason why I keep going back and listening to it.
Since the release of ''Jagged Little Pill'', Alanis Morissette has released two studio album ''Supposed Former Infaution Junkie'' and ''Under Rug Swept. Yet ''Jagged Little Pill'' is still her most talked about and it's still my favourite Alanis Morissette album as well though with her third ablum release on the way, perhaps Alanis Morissette might surprise me. ''Jagged Little Pill'' is a must-have in every record collection, so go get it.
Overall Rate: 9.8/10
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2005
I first really became infatuated with Alanis when I heard her 2002 song -Hands Clean-. I then forgot about her for a while and then picked up this album.
Jagged Little Pill was a huge success for Morissette selling about 30 million copies worldwide. Basically the only albums that have sold to this magnatude are -Thriller- by Michael Jackson & -Come On Over- by Shania Twain. Jagged Little Pill was portrayed as a very angsty album when a radio DJ stumbled upon "You Oughta Know" and discovered the f-word in the song. Originally before that the album had debuted at only #118 on the Billboard 200, but then the rest is history.
The album has the perfect blend of dynamics and the timbre in her voice is phenomenal. The album has some softer tracks that are incredibly different to the trademark Alanis tracks.
"All I Really Want" is the opening track and Alanis at her loudest, this track is so cool that no words can really describe it. It has really nice guitars courtesy of Glen Ballard and Alanis blows damn hard on that harmonica. "You Oughta Know" is the track that made this album famous. At first I didn't recognise the verses, however the chorus seemed instantly familiar, like an old friend, I don't know why.
"Perfect" is a real tear-jerker and the first time I heard it I seriously nearly cried and I'm not really that emotional. Her voice is raw and naked on this track and simply outstanding.
"Hand In My Pocket" is really awesome and I love the vibrant tempo and how she uses her superb vocal range to her advantage.
"Right Through You" is Alanis getting angsty at record company executives. The lyrics are so good as it describes a person very vividly and fully. "Forgiven" is full of raw emotion and energy that I can feel Alanis channeling. I don't know what the topic is about though.
"You Learn" is another track where you feel like you are in heaven and Alanis is serenading sweetly to you. I like the chorus the most because it is extremely well structured.
"Head Over Feet" is a really nice love song which could be a perfect anthem for couples.
"Mary Jane" has that trademark Alanis emotion infused in it and I do really wonder who Mary Jane is. "Ironic" is Morissette's most comercially successfull single to date and the lyrics are really ironic and witty and I like them.
"Not The Doctor" is another classic from Alanis and has a fresh sound, how can she make songs so good? "Wake Up" is the song where Alanis tells us exactly what to do, to wake up. This song is good because it is empowering and has a moral.
Overall Jagged Little Pill makes for one of the best albums in the history of man and the universe. It's exciting, fresh and varied. Morissette has a knack for words and writes her lyrics incredibly well. So I highly recommend this album to any music fan.
NOTE: Track #13 is just an alternate take on "You Oughta Know".
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2005
Alanis Morisette's 1995 debut - her being barely out of her teens - remains one of the most powerful debut albums of the 90's, and with its amazing freshness and uniqueness - plus five hit singles - it was enough to catapult this 21 old non-blonde to instant superstar status, one to be maintained yet, even if not one of her subsequent albums could come close to matching the first; and a first like this one it tough to match. Alanis was original, fresh and one-of-a-kind; any attempt to stick a label on her would be futile. Despite her very young age, she was never a teenage pop singer; she drew attention by her sheer talent, never by her looks or her show, and therefore appealed to a more mature and sophisticated audience. Her music was complex and intelligent, yet very earthly, and not as artistic as to alienate herself from many people, like Tori Amos or Bjork.
Her music did have some elements in common with the punk chicks of her time like Gwen Stefani, Shirley Manson or Meredith Brooks, but she never depended on a band around her (well, yes, Flea and Dave Navarro helped out, and it shows, but it sounds nothing like a Chili Peppers album and all like an Alanis album). She's angry all right, but she never depended on distortion and on hard drums, though those are often present; on the contrary, her music works by way of incredibly powerful silences. The songs stand by themselves, the only important instrument being her wonderful and unique voice.
Alanis's lyrics are of great anger and pain, but they are not bleak. Alanis is the eternal optimistic, a strong, street-wise, independent woman. In that respect, perhaps Tori Amos is the best comparison of the artists mentioned above. Bitterness is all over songs like 'You Oughta Know' and 'Right Through You', but Alanis never wallows in self-pity. Her final attitude is always triumphant. And in songs like 'You Learn' and 'Hand in my Pocket', she shows her happy point of view.
'Ironic' may have been the biggest hit to come out of this album - it had the best video, sure enough - but it might as well be the weakest song on the album. Every single song here, in fact, is a modern classic; despite simple harmonies and rhythms, Alanis's performance makes each one a powerhouse. Other than 'You Oughta Know', maybe the most memorable song on the album, a hard screamer powered up by Navarro's (Jane's Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers) wonderful guitar, other stand-out tracks include 'All I Really Want', a fantastic opener with beautiful and angry lyrics; 'Perfect', a heart-wrenching telling of a harsh childhood; 'Head Over Feet', a wonderful and light-hearted love song; and my personal favorite 'Not The Doctor', yet another anthem of independence and strength, which has a fantastic chord progression and a very strong chorus, not to mention another emotional and powerful performance.
Unless you're a big fan, 'Jagged Little Pill' is probably all the Alanis Morisette you'll ever need (though I also warmly recommend her 'Unplugged' performance), and it's a lot. It tells you most everything you need to know about one of today's most creative recording artists, and is a beautiful album that's always a pleasure to listen to.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2005
It's hard to believe it was 10 years ago I first encountered this woman. In 1995 I was 10 years old and so far as I can remember although from a musical house I had no apparent interest in music. Morissette's '95 crossover success Jagged little Pill changed all that, whilst watching TV with my brother I saw a short TV advert for Alanis' album; I knew I liked it and had to have it. Being only 10, the thought soon disappeared and I forgot all about the angry white female. My brother in his infinite wisdom remembered what I had said and bought me the album on cassette for my birthday (Gareth I am eternally grateful). The album still remains in my collection, now in CD format of course (lost the tape). Its in my top three along with Damien Rice's O (which I also discovered in a TV advert) and Jeff Buckley's Grace (recommended by a friend).
Music is now a very important part in my life, and I can attribute my enjoying playing and listening to music to such artistic greats as Alanis, not to mention her partner in crime, the man who helped Alanis through this dramatic and truly worth-while cross-over Mr Glen Ballard.
Starting in with the harmonica and the "All I Really Want" riff the album persuaded me track by track to listen more and more, I did even onto the uncharacteristically quiet hidden track, the a cappella "Your House". The memorable Morissette style harmonies give me a warm fuzzy feeling, and the harmonica still creeping up in Morissette's more recent work is a welcome reminder of this talented lady's 1995 crossover success.
Alanis went on to a more calm and peaceful future progressing towards utopian calm in her most recent studio album "So Called Chaos", growing as an artist and distancing herself from the angry white female image that she earned from her 3rd album (JLP) whilst also creating a new reputation for herself as an intricate wordsmith (seriously- its hard to follow some of her new songs without a dictionary). I am excited about the prospect of the 10th anniversary edition JLP with additional content being released this year (my copy has taken a beating since it has been played so much so I'm grateful for an excuse to get a new copy)
!!!This album is one of the all time greats in my view!!!
PS Alanis did NOT sing "Bitch" (I'm a bitch); that was Meredith Brooks on the album "Blurring the Edges"
PPS Alanis did NOT sing "One Of Us" (What if God was One Of Us) either; that was Joan Osbourne on the album "Relish"
-some people think she did so I'm just clearing up any confusion