Alanis Morissette’s Biggest Hits In Australia

Alanis Morissette’s Biggest Hits In Australia

alanis jagged little pill 25
(Photo by Hlzer/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Alanis Morissette’s impact on the music scene in the mid-’90s was undeniable. Her brand of raw, honest rock was a blast of fresh air after a decade dominated by successful female artists who mostly fell into two camps: balladeers and pop stars. Alanis herself had released two albums of pure pop in the early ’90s – isn’t that ironic? (No.) 

Even former rockers like Pat Benatar and Linda Ronstadt had softened their sound in the 10 years prior to the release of 1995’s Jagged Little Pill, but following that landmark album, females that rocked were back with a vengeance. To mark the 25th anniversary of Alanis’ multi-platinum third album, here is a look at her biggest hits on the ARIA singles chart.


8. "You Learn”

Released: 1996

Peak: number 20

Released in Australia in mid-1996 when Alanis had already enjoyed three top 20 hits and a number 1 album, the fourth single from Jagged Little Pill did well to also reach the top 20 – testament to her runaway success at the time. Lyrically, “You Learn” is about the lessons you take away from your mistakes, and is the song that gives the album its title due to the line “swallow it down (what a jagged little pill)”.


7. "Everything”

Released: 2004

Peak: number 15

The lead single from Alanis’s sixth album, So-Called Chaos, “Everything” had a brief tenure on the top 50 – it only lasted five weeks, rapidly falling from its peak position. The album was seen as her most commercial release since Jagged Little Pill, but after three consecutive top 2 albums, So-Called Chaos  also peaked at number 15 and spent just five weeks in the top 50.


6. "Thank U”

Released: 1998

Peak: number 15

Her first hit following the Jagged Little Pill era – soundtrack song “Uninvited” wasn’t released as a single in Australia – “Thank U” was the first track lifted from Alanis’ highly anticipated fourth album, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. Written during the 18-month hiatus she took between albums, “Thank U” was inspired by the feelings she felt during a holiday in India, while its drum sample and electronic elements, as well as its more gentle feel, marked a shift in direction.


5. "Hand In My Pocket”

Released: 1995

Peak: number 13

The follow-up to “You Oughta Know”, “Hand In My Pocket” was written by Alanis and her Jagged Little Pill collaborator, Glen Ballard, in 15 minutes, sparked by the notion that humans can be doing several things at any one time. Like its predecessor, the song was not released as a commercial single in the US, forcing fans to buy the album instead. In Australia, “Hand In My Pocket” was made available and became Alanis’s second straight top 15 hit.


4. "Head Over Feet”

Released: 1996

Peak: number 12

Reaching its peak position around the time of Alanis’s first Australian tour in late 1996, this fifth hit from Jagged Little Pill differed from other songs on the album by taking its inspiration from a healthy relationship. The track also features a harmonica solo by the singer, who played the instrument on “Hand In My Pocket” and “All I Really Want” as well.


3. "Hands Clean”

Released: 2002

Peak: number 9

Her most successful non-Jagged Little Pill single, “Hands Clean” was the lead single from fifth album Under Rug Swept, which Alanis produced herself. The song was her way of dealing with a relationship she had with a much older man when she was a teenager and putting her feelings of guilt about the situation she had been in to rest.


2. "You Oughta Know”

Released: 1995

Peak: number 4

The song that made the world sit up and take notice, “You Oughta Know” was the lead single from Jagged Little Pill and quickly gained attention for its vitriol-packed lyrics. Alanis has never confirmed which former relationship inspired the sentiments expressed in the song, instead using it for her own personal catharsis – a process that involved recording it in one impassioned take. Dave Navarro and Flea played guitar and bass respectively on the track.


1. "Ironic”

Released: 1996

Peak: number 3

Although the accuracy of its description of situations as ironic has long been debated, there is no question that this third single from Jagged Little Pill is Alanis’s highest-charting song in Australia. Like the rest of the tracks on the album, “Ironic” was written following a conversation between Alanis and co-writer/producer Glen Ballard, and they have both since said they weren’t caught up on whether the lyrics were technically ironic – although they admit to finding the discussion around the song quite amusing (as they laugh all the way to the bank).


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