You know, eleven years and a personal musical career resurrected later, I have to admit that Alanis really nailed it when she released Jagged Little Pill. I liked it when it first came out in 1995, but rapidly lost interest after the media played it non-stop for what felt like one hundred years.
Thought its full of hard-core breakup songs, its not girl-band saccharine – in fact, its downright bitter in a way that could only come from a girls crushed heart. It’s obvious that its based in personal experience. Vitriolic lyrics from You ‘outta know are heart-wrenching (and surprisingly erotic in parts) and will probably speak to most girls post-breakup pain. What’s particularly interesting is that it also speaks to the pain boys feel after a breakup too, though most boys wouldn’t admit it.
Last year’s acoustic re-release of the album sparked a lot of controversy, as it was only available from Starbuck’s for the first six or so weeks after its release, but it was also a fantastic way to revisit the original album without immediately reminding listeners of the fact that for six or so months Jagged Little Pill was the soundtrack of their own personal hells.
In between the releases of these two versions of this album, I resurrected my musical career. I am a one-time classically trained musician – technically what is called a “Piano Dropout” I guess. I gave up music completely in my teens and only returned in about 1996. Though I’d probably not admit it to some of my harder-core musician friends, Jagged LIttle Pill rekindled a passion for music that was lacking in my life.
I didn’t pick up a guitar and start playing again because of this album. Not at all. That came later, in Nova Scotia, when a bass player I met decided to walk out on his gig and leave his guitar player hanging. I filled in, and my feelings for music were realized once more. but the album did make me start paying attention again, made me start enjoying listening to music in a way I hadn’t since I was young.
Instead of being the soundtrack of my own personal hell, Jagged Little Pill bookends the period of my musical rebirth.