This seemingly came out of nowhere from everybody’s perception, except perhaps from Alanis Morissette herself. In some ways it took her a while to get started on musical success, this is her third studio album, not her first. However, all the same, this album broke new ground with both her fans and got some much deserved mainstream notice with many of the songs being hit singles on the radio. It comes across as a semi-autobiographical work, with the lady herself singing about personal and deeply emotional issues. All in all, it is seen as a classic album, so let’s check this out.
We kickstart the album with All I Really Want begins with some nice harmonica and wah-wah guitar, before going into a beat driven and guitar led piece that is excellent. This lyrically sounds very personal, and there is an air of melancholy on this song. Once the chorus hits, you are blown away with the awesome sounds and intense emotion of it all. This is a really great start to this album, and Alanis Morissette has created a real gem. Very catchy, it is just a decent quality listen. There is a key change in the second half that makes this a little different, and a great combined lyrical and musical feeling throughout. The brief silence here provoked by the lyrics is appropriate, too. Towards the end, Alanis Morissette really screams loudly with passion. Excellent song, a great way to start this album.
Following is You Oughta Know which has some brushed percussion and Alanis Morissette singing softly about relationship issues. It sounds as though as the singer herself had some serious issues in life. The chorus of this piece is quite uplifting, and is very direct lyrically. It is a very good piece of accomplished music that is a hybrid of singer-songwriter craft and some really awesome Rock/Alternative sounds. Quite clearly aimed at an ex-boyfriend, this is another great piece to enjoy. There is a rather strange breakdown in the second half with wordless melodies and some feedback, before going straight back into the song. A very dark, cynical statement with some good musical backing to match. Good tune, it sounds fresh from start to finish.
Perfect is a slower and jangly electric guitar piece that sounds really excellent with our female singer’s lovely voice over the top. Alanis Morissette sings deeply about love and the infatuation that goes along with it. This is a great and quality listen from the Canadian star and although this is a short piece, it sounds pretty good. Instead of a guitar solo, there is a buildup of energy and emotional singing that goes into a climax. Another really top tune, this album so far is seemingly flawless. Excellent.
Hand In My Pocket comes next, with chiming electric guitar and some electronic drumbeats. Some contradictory lyrics open this piece, before going into a really awesome chorus. Alanis Morissette is a very underrated singer here, especially in today’s world. This is a defining tune from the singer, and there is a harmonica solo in the middle. Without a doubt, this is a great listen, although some men may consider the lyrics overly feminist. Still, this is a great piece of music and was played heavily on the radio in the 1990s.
Next is Right Through You which begins with some proto-Coldplay acoustic strummed guitars and some lovely singing over the top. The chorus is wonderful and glorious, bursting into a loud Rock piece with some really nice singing from our star Alanis Morissette. The combination of melody, instrumentation and bared teeth female lyricism is unlike anything else in the history of music. A really good piece of music that, even though not a single, sounds great. Another top tune on this album, nice to hear.
Following is Forgiven which begins with a pounding low frequency bass sound, before guitar and singing follow through. This is actually a fairly dark listen, but once the band kick in, this is strange in terms of melodies being used here. With lyrics about religious concepts and personal anger towards someone in one’s life, this is a pretty direct and pointed piece of angry music. This is not the best song on the album, but it is quite good regardless. In the second half, it goes into a Nirvana style stop/start and quiet/loud structure which helps add a little musical flavour to these songs. Could have been edited down a bit in length, a song this simple should have been three minutes long, not five minutes long. Not much else to complain about here, really. The outro is ghostly.
You Learn begins with a good drumbeat and some clean guitars, with Alanis Morissette singing nicely over the top about weird concepts. Once the chorus kicks in, it is so good that you may have goosebumps over the melodies from this song. A brilliant piece of melodicism, with great lyrics to match, this song is really fine sounding and underrated. A really good piece of amazing emotion, this is enough to move one’s mood. There is a call-and-response vocal part, before a short guitar solo enters in the second half of the song. A really great listen and a great album, full of female power and music purpose. The outro has some interesting melodies in it, awesome song from start to finish.
Head Over Feet is another amazing song, from the start. It has an incredible melodic sense to it, especially with Alanis Morissette’s singing. There are electronic style drumbeats, loud electric guitars and a nice sense of melodic progression. Quite simply put, this Rocks well. It’s a real love song, and sounds fantastic, even today. This no doubt inspired many musicians out there, especially female singers of today. A wonderful piece of music, there is a harmonica solo in the middle, which is a nice touch. Plenty of compliments to a lover are here, and the lyrics here are really very intelligently written. This is a really great song all the way through, and is clever and pretty listening. The outro has some great harmonies and finishes nicely.
Following is Mary Jane which begins with Led Zeppelin style guitars. The title of the song may refer to marijuana use, but it is a song about love and the emotions tied in with a relationship. This is another really excellent song to hear, it just sounds really fine and there is a great match of sounds to Alanis Morisette’s magnificent singing. A really gently emotional song, it sounds a bit like U2 in some places, but not overly copying their style. The chorus proves that our legendary singer here can singing very well, and with a deep sense of emotion. Another excellent song, even though this was not a single from the album. Great listen from start to finish. The harmonies at the end are amazing.
The hit single Ironic comes next. It begins with lovely strummed acoustic guitar that sounds fresh and bright. Alanis Morissette then kicks in with her singing, and a great piece of music arrives. The chorus is so good that it will lift you up and take you to another place emotionally. It’s a more female anti-relationship statement lyrically, but this song is really fantastic. This is an amazing song, and is about things from a cynical perspective. Great stuff, there is nothing else in the history of music quite like this, which means it is essential listening. Very emotional and uplifting, a great song. One of Alanis Morisette’s best songs, ever. Fantastic.
Not The Doctor begins with some nice acoustic guitar playing that sounds a little funky. This is another decent tune to hear, and seems like another piece aimed at an ex-partner. This is good as well, even if it was never a single. The quality of singing, songwriting and musicianship here is incredible. This song is very good, and follows a good structure where it builds up with emotion in the verses, before overflowing with musical goodness in the chorus. A really nasty and direct piece of lyricism, with a cool alternative Rock setting to it. It ends with a nice acoustic strum.
Wake Up comes next and has some arpeggio styled guitar playing, with a slight touch of discordant melody to it. More electronic drumbeats then enter, and we have a more straightforward song to hear. This is a little less magical than some of the other songs here. It’s still listenable, but seems a lot darker musically than some of the other music here on this album. The backing band here are really excellent, bonus points must go to the guitar playing on this record, it is awesome. There is some slap bass in the background during the repeated vocal refrain. Very musically accomplished, this is pretty cool. Another good musical statement that is very direct and good, but not great. The outro gets pretty intense emotionally.
Last is the extended You Oughta Know (Jimmy The Saint Blend) / Your House – A Capella which is a remix of the earlier song on this album. It definitely sounds different compared to the earlier song, as you’d expect, but is a nice remix of the original tune which is really quite awesome to hear. The bass playing here is a lot more prominent than the original, and the guitars are seemingly deployed differently. A solid listen, this is super good to hear it again, although there is little difference with this song and the original on the record. The hidden track begins after some silence with some lone singing which is really good from our singing legend, but probably really not necessary here. It is Alanis Morissette singing for forgiveness. She has an incredible voice, without question. Awesome sounding, but very deep and meaningful.
This is an excellent album that has aged surprisingly well. It is really very good. The only downside is that some of the songs here that are not radio play are somewhat patchy. Still, this is a classic album that defines and influenced the female side of music, which is just as important as the male side of music. Worth hearing, if you dig that sort of thing.
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