Alanis Morissette’s 'Jagged Little Pill' Turns 27

Alanis Morissette’s 'Jagged Little Pill' Turns 27

alanis morissette
Alanis Morissette. Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images.

It’s hard to believe Alanis Morissette was only 21 when she released what would become one of the highest-selling albums of all time. With the confident naivety of youth, she bared her psyche without restraint to create something deeply personal, universally inclusive and supremely catchy. No one could have predicted the full force of the cultural phenomenon that had just been unleashed with Jagged Little Pill in June of 1995.

So, here's a recap of all the reflections, philosophy and rebellion wrapped up in the Gen X anthems from Jagged Little Pill that proves age and wisdom needn't be mutually exclusive. 

'You Oughta Know'

The first single released on Jagged Little Pill was You Oughta Know. The song starts out as a dark pop ballad with minimal instrumentation, then introduces distorted grunge guitars over rap vocals in the pre-chorus before opening up into a soaring chorus that U2 could feasibly re-purpose. If that isn’t a confident enough first step, there are the unashamedly in-your-face, to-the-point lyrics confirming that Alanis truly wasn’t afraid to take on any topic. 

She turns heartbreak into a power stance before the song even hits the 2-minute mark. 

'All I Really Want'

Unmistakably new wave/Britpop influenced, with a bratty grunge-spirited vocal that chooses emotion over perfection. Alanis proves that age and experience can’t contend with her vivid imagination, delivering every scenario with wisdom and authority.

'Hand In My Pocket'

We all feel like hitting the pause button every now and then. Hand In My Pocket turned procrastination into a philosophical rite of passage. It was the ultimate anthem for anyone finding their path in life - which is pretty much all of us all the time if we’re really being honest.


Putting the eternal argument about whether any of these things are actually ironic, or just annoying aside, I think on reflection we can all agree that Alanis manages to articulate the inevitable ups and downs on the rollercoaster of life with alarming accuracy for someone who was technically still on the starter blocks when she wrote it. 

'You Learn'

Here we find the album’s namesake: “swallow it down, like a jagged little pill,” which turned out to be something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Fumbling your way through the perils of love, heartbreak and betrayal is made just a little bit easier with this anthem that turns catastrophe into triumph. 

'Head Over Feet'

The last single from Jagged Little Pill was really the first time optimism and romance appeared side by side, which is a lesson in itself. If you stuck by her through the all confrontational ups and downs, you’re left with the recipe for devotion. 

It's the kind of album that only comes along once in a generation.


Listen to Jagged Little Pill Spotify:

Listen to Jagged Little Pill on Apple Music:

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