My original intention at Culture Fusion was to create a forum for a wide variety of writers to post varying reviews and essays on a wide variety of subjects. I opened it up to many writers but due to life getting in the way, most of them were unable to comply. However, my friend Sean M Hebner wrote up a review one day, of his own volition and I decided his drive and ambition would make him a perfect addition to the blog.
Sean will handle all Saturday posts. His posts are labelled “Dispatches from Chaos” and will cover a wide range of topics, from metal reviews (his preferred genre) to “Wife Purse” reviews wherein he reviews his wife’s albums (which are much outside of his own normal musical interests).
His first official “Dispatches from Chaos” review is on “Jagged Little Pill” by Alanis Morissette. Sean has an informal, excited and highly energetic writing style that contrasts well with my own occasional stuffy carefulness.
I’ll dispatch with the usual disclaimer: Sean’s opinions in no way coincide with my own. That said, here we go.
Jagged Little Pill: By Alanis Morissette
An Ironic Review from Sean M. Hebner
For The Culture Fusion Blog
OK …no beating around this bush here. I’m just going to say it: this is the best alt-rock album of the 90’s.
Yes, more albums lingered longer in the collective conscious. Some were definitely more influential, such as “Rid of Me” by PJ Harvey” or “Nevermind” by Nirvana but none more epitomized the 90’s alt scene than “Jagged Little Pill.”
Want Angst? Got it in spades! Want Anger? SPADES!!! You want clever lyrics and catchy hooks. NO FURTHER! How about adorable love songs that have extremely playful lyrics? Buy “Jagged Little Pill” …
After all these years, I just discovered the hidden track …oh my god…this is AWESOME… how pissed was SHE?!?!? SO MAD! Obsessed …she breaks into her ex’s house and gets naked and steals his clothes…BITTER!
Oi…I feel so bad now…I can’t believe I’ve missed that. It’s freaking FANTASTIC.
That discovery was in real time, people. Here at culture fusion, we love to deliver quality and deliver the true face of ourselves as raw as a blister.
On that note, here’s why I think this is the best Alt-Rock Album of the 90’s. For starters, it has six singles that are STILL in rotation on pop radio, all six I’m sure you know by heart. Admit it!
Quantifiably speaking, it sold 33 million copies, going platinum 33 times (those are Michael Jackson like numbers). It won 2 Grammies and made all the little people sing “LIKE RAIN/ ON YOUR WEDDING DAY!”
It DID in-fact rain on my wedding day as Eric can attest but my wife and I didn’t mind so much. (editors note: it sure did but that didn’t stop record breaking levels of booze from being ingested for hours straight).
BY the NUMBERS: A track by track break down.
Track One: “All I really want” – just a straight up alt-rock opus. Here, listen to it!
|“You Oughta Know”|
This is probably the most recognizable of The Singles next to maybe “Ironic”, if only because of the speculation as to who it was Written About…
Yeah Mr wholesome Uncle Cancer-of-Humor FULLHOUSE himself chased and then wanted to KNOCK-UP Jailbait Morissette. Yeah. Fuck. Chalk ANOTHER emotional episode caused by reading the Wiki. You get ANGRY!
Track Three: “Perfect” is the weakest song on the album. But I still like it. So there.
Track Four: “Hand in my Pocket.” This is another one of the six singles that set up the newest generation for Super Hip-Damn-Near-Daria levels of apathy and indifference.
“I’ve got one hand in my pocket/and the other is flicking a cigarette” and other nonchalant lyrics like it turn this song into a great tune.
Track Five: “Right Through You” – so many bands and artists have written songs about hating managers or producers or labels. Even the great Mike Oldfied told the owner of VIRGIN to fuck off in Morse code. I like them all. Every last damn one I’ve heard I’ve liked. Check out ART NAZIE by Sky Clad for another “fuck you!” tune.
Track six: “Forgiven” is a solid Alt-Rock ballad! The damaged sound of her voice makes the message of the song feel more real.
Track seven: “You Learn”- Another single from this album. It highlights the album fairly well, creating a mood of “pissed but positive.”
I guess it could be more “devil may care” but that’s not the point. It’s another great track and was well worth the single status. Glad its still popular!
Track Eight: “Head over Feet”- This I think is one of the most natural sounding and Delightful ballads of all time. Sometimes love is goofy and awkward and you need to respond sarcastically to the prospect of a GOOD nay GREAT fucking relationship. I can obviously relate to this. Very well.
Track nine: “Mary Jane”- Empowerment song. I do tend to like these a lot; I like how the song is trying to be “bouncy” but it starts on the brink of tears. Then it gets angry in the bridge and chorus. Nice emotional contrasts!
This is how people react in these situations in real life, and for detailing that accurately, this song gets props.
Track Ten: Ironic – Appropriately enough, irony is one of the undercurrents of the album. The modern Hipster was forged in this stuff (and it even influenced their poor understanding of irony!). However, “Jagged Little Pill” happens to be better formed than the modern Hipster.
I believe that this album and this single will last much longer than Irony as a lifestyle. A little Too ironic, don’tcha think?
Track eleven: Not the Doctor – This is one of those songs that fits SO well in the 90’s and its about the classic desire of “just fuck me and go.” It compares her to a “snack” that he should just “eat” and “get over.” Sweet!
Track twelve: Wake up – Ending track, smooth alt rock song. Like it. Love it. The whole album is fucking gold!
Final words: While it’s not the most influential album ever, or even of the 90’s, it is a perfect representation of all that was popular at the time.
Whatever The Barenaked Ladies were trying to do? Double Yup!
Sappy love songs? YUPPY YUP! The whole album is Cross section perfection.
If you grew up in the 90’s or want to know what pop music was in the 90s, buy this album. It’s a perfect time capsule of the 90s.
It’s amazing how the rise (and fall) of the subsequent ‘Meh’ generation was told in real-time by a pissed off hot chick from Canada!
See-ya next time with my list of underappreciated Thrash Metal songs! G’night!