You Oughta Know: Alanis Morissette’s classic ‘Jagged Little Pill’

5 Min Read

June 13th, 1995

Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette released her third studio album Jagged Little Pill, on Madonna’s Maverick label and Reprise Records. Little did many know, that the album would become one of the most successful albums and eras for any solo act from the 90s. To date, the album has surpassed 15 million albums sold in the United States. This feat makes Jagged Little Pill one of three albums in the country to pass that benchmark (in good company with Shania Twain’s Come On Over and Metallica’s self titled debut; since Nielsen Music began tracking data in 1991). Recently, the album has even been turned into a Broadway musical.

However, long before it was a Broadway musical, this breakout album launched Alanis Morissette into superstardom. She became a household name with radio friendly hits including “Hand In My Pocket,” and the Billboard Hot 100 top 5 hit “Ironic.” The latter went on to become one of her career defining hits and is one of, if not the signature song when the name Alanis Morissette comes to mind. A song that many feel is speaking about not-so-ironic, ended up hitting number 1 on the U.S. Alternative charts along with “You Oughta Know,” and “Hand In My Pocket.”

Jagged Little Pill achieved many accolades since its release in the 90s. One of the biggest feats was when a 21 year old Morissette won the Grammy Award for Record of The Year in 1996, making her the the youngest act to ever do so. Alanis Morissette held this record for 14 years until a 20-year old Taylor Swift stripped her of the title in 2010. Pill ended up receiving a total of nine Grammy nominations and managed to win five. Surprisingly, Morissette lost in the Best New Artist category to Hootie & The Blowfish; although she was in good defeated company along with fellow successful acts from the 90s like Brandy and Shania Twain. Oh, and if that all was not impressive enough, Jagged Little Pill topped the Billboard 200 for 12 weeks.

With the success of Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morissette in many ways changed the landscape for what many began to see for female musicians. Morissette broken down one-dimensional barriers that said a female rock artist could not do certain things like dance in a music video. She showed how it was possibly for women to produce and create popular Alternative Rock music with a pop flare/edge. Clearly paving the way for fellow artist such as Kelly Clarkson, P!nk, and fellow Canadian Avril Lavigne. Though, not only did Alanis Morissette leave a blueprint for other artists, in many ways she was the sole artist that showed radio programmers and listeners alike that they could listen to, and like, more than one female musician on the airwaves – simultaneously.  Not only was Jagged Little Pill a great musical effort by a young artist, that contained many of the decade’s defining hit songs, it managed to define a era of music while changing history at the same time.

If you would like to celebrate the milestone, Rhino Records and Warner Music Group reissued Jagged Little Pill for its 20th year anniversary in October 2015. In support, Alanis did various promotional TV spots including the American Music Awards (performing with Demi Lovato), The Talk and The Late Late Show (including a very funny skit, updating “Ironic”). The new set features a remastered version of the original album along with ten demos. For the big fans, there is a collectors edition, 4-disc set that also includes the 2005 (ten year anniversary) acoustic album and live London concert disc from September 28th, 1995. This special edition of the album is even available to stream on Spotify. Alanis Morissette fans should rejoice as if it were the mid 90s once again. What a great time for music!

Listen to Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill

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