Some of my closest friends occasionally still ask me why I listen to Alanis Morrissette nowadays. “Come on Rob, she made one outstanding album, that’s it!” Even more frustrating is how still today people like to pigeonhole her as That 90’s Angry Chick. Usually I just smile to such a cop-out statement, and at other times I like to point out that, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (1998) and Under Rug Swept (2001) were also great albums. In fact, I think that Junkie is better than its predecessor. It is filled with moody ballads and mid tempo tracks with the honesty and vulnerability Morrissette could only get away with.
On the subject of Angry Chick, I sigh and roll my eyes. But you know what? I understand why people say that. It’s a perception that has dogged her throughout her career all because she wrote You Oughta Know. She is far from being a man-hater. As an advocate of female empowerment, she is unapologetic and a proud feminist. And so she should be. I think that if you asked her about her views on men you would be surprised to hear that she believes men have a place in her world. Putting music aside, this is one of the reasons why I am interested in what Alanis is up to nowadays. But the occasional nostalgic blast from the past, by listening to my favourite Alanis songs, doesn’t hurt either.
One of my favourite Alanis Morrissette tracks is Head Over Feet. I gotta say it is an incredibly beautiful song that has aged well over the years because of its raw emotionally charged integrity. In short, I cannot think of anyone who doesn’t love this song. Its positive outlook on relationships and love is a testament to Morrisette songwriting abilities. It also shows us her vulnerable side, the complete opposite to the ‘angry rocker’ tag she was dubbed with.
Key lyrics: “You’ve already won me over in spite of me/ And don’t be alarmed if I fall head over feet/ And don’t be surprised if I love you for all that you are/ I couldn’t help it/ It’s all your fault.”
The accompanying music video is also particularly clever with an uncomfortable and vulnerable looking Morrissette tracking forward and away with her eyes from the camera. I love all her nervous ticks and that relieved smile at the end where she fades away into the black abyss.
I love Alanis Morissette and, like you, don’t understand some people’s easy dismissal of her work after “Jagged Little Pill.” It’s also unfair to label her as an ‘angry chick,’ when plenty of other female artists have produced albums filled with songs about pain and anger resulting from betrayal: Adele, Fiona Apple, Beyonce, P!nk and even Kelly Clarkson, to name a few that come to mind.
I’m one year older than Alanis, yet only discovered her this year. I was always aware of Ironic. Who wasn’t?
But I think I was just so wasted throughout the 1990s a lot of things that were probably better for me passed me by.
I’m working my way through her entire back catalogue. I think my faves might be on jagged little pill. I love Forgiven and See right through you.
I read in your article what other people say. My brother said the same shit recently. She’s got loads of great songs on all her albums though. And I love Pretty Little Forks in the Road. Lots of great tracks.
Despite ‘Such Pretty Little Forks in the Road’ being somewhat ballad-heavy, it is still nonetheless quite enjoyable. Thanks for dropping by Stephen.