Saturday, March 5, 2011

327. Jagged Little Pill. Isn’t it Ironic?

Album: Jagged Little Pill
Artist: Alanis Morrisette
Genre: Pop
Year: 1995


All I Really Want
You Oughta Know
Hand in My Pocket
Right Through You
You Learn
Head over Feet
Mary Jane
Not the Doctor
Wake Up

Number 327 brings us to an Alanis Morissette album. In fact it brings us to The Alanis Morisette album or possibly The Only Alanis Morissette album. I can’t name any others, except for something she released recently called The Acoustic Jagged Little Pill, an attempt to get those who bought the album the first time to buy it again. Even if the unplugged retread only sold a tenth of the units the first one did it would still have been a massive hit. Jagged Little Pill sold 33 million copies which is a truly staggering amount. To put that into some kind of perspective if the people who bought her album formed their own country they’re population would outnumber her native Canada. I remember when this album came out and I think I was the only person I knew who hadn’t bought a copy. It wouldn’t surprise me if even my parents, who owned typewriters more modern than their music taste, had a copy stashed away somewhere. It really was inescapable.

When it came out Jagged Little Pill annoyed me. It got on my nerves but not for the reason it irritated other people. At the time, and often since, much fuss has been made of the fact that Alanis appeared to have little to no understanding of what the word “Ironic” actually means. The lyrics to Ironic confuse Irony with bad luck. As countless thousands have observed before me rain on a wedding day isn’t ironic it’s just annoying. If it rained wedding cakes and ruined your big day that would be ironic, strange but definitely ironic. This never really bothered me, what got on my nerves were the ads promoting the album that declared it was the biggest selling debut album of all time. Once it passed the 10 million sales mark nobody could deny it was a huge selling album, it wasn’t that part I had a problem with. I was just a traditional soul who felt a debut album should be the first album the artist released. Alanis had released two CD’s prior to Jagged Little Pill both of which didn’t sell at all. They weren’t released outside Canada because even Canadians ignored them but they existed and were Alanis Morisette albums. So how she could claim that her third album was actually her debut was beyond me. And it got on my nerves.

I should also mention that the music got on my nerves because it was whiney, irritating and all pervasive. I don’t mind someone having a whine but when it’s basically your entire album and every single gets constant airplay it tends to get a bit draining. 15 years later when I came to re-listen after avoiding it successfully for more than a decade I found it more annoying still.

Highlight: Ed Byrnes Routine about correct use of Irony

Lowlight: Hand in my Pocket

Influenced by: Commercialism and Glen Ballard
Influenced: Alanis Morrisette fans into saying “It’s not as good as Jagged” about her every subsequent release.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: “What makes Alanis such a treasure is the honesty of her convictions and her absolute allegiance to commoners everywhere. When she plaintively emotes "I've got one hand in my pocket," you realize she could be singing about anyone.”

-Who the hell uses the word “commoners” anymore?

So do you have an ironic love for Alanis or a genuine love or no love at all? Let me know below.


  1. Hey -- both my mom and my best friend love this album. It's on my friend's top favorites, for sure.

    I can't say I ever had a problem with this album, what with being raised in the 90s as it was being a hit. I certainly don't mind the thing about her song "Ironic." In fact, I heard somewhere that the song *is* actually ironic-- the irony being that the title implies that the lyrics will be ironic and they aren't.

    Also, sorry for not reading/commenting for a long while. Short attention span is partially to blame, but then my father's death and funeral... Not very fun times.

  2. Sorry to hear about your loss Ryan, thoughts are with you and your family. Good to have you back commenting again.