Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course).
I can never remember how to spell Alanis' last name correctly. Is it two r's and one s, or one t? Someone needs to come up for a mnemonic device for this. Note: I've opted to ignore her first two Canadian teen pop albums, including the hit Let's Go To The Mall. Oh, wait, that was Robin Sparkles.
1. Hand In My Pocket (from Jagged Little Pill, 1995)
One might generalize and say that early Alanis was tortured and angry, but Hand In My Pocket is proof otherwise. It's a song of cautious optimism, half-serious and half-funny.
2. You Outta Know (from Jagged Little Pill, 1995)
My favorite line is "Does she know how you told me you'd hold me until you died / Well you're still alive." She could have just called him a liar.
3. Head Over Feet (from Jagged Little Pill, 1995)
Anyone who gets as angry as Alanis does in You Outta Know also has the ability to go completely to the opposite extreme. That's what Head Over Feet is, a sappy bowing-at-your feet ode to new love.
4. Ironic (from Jagged Little Pill, 1995)
Isn't it ironic that many of the scenarios it contained weren't true irony, thus making the song itself an example of irony.
5. All I Really Want (from Jagged Little Pill, 1995)
This is a really weird song, from the strange talk-singing on the verses, to the off-kilter high harmonies on the chorus to the lyrics themselves ("intellectual intercourse" anyone?).
6. You Learn (from Jagged Little Pill, 1995)
I'm only slightly embarrassed to admit that I've found this song therapeutic on more than three occasions.
7. Uninvited (from City Of Angels, 1998)
I never get sick of Uninvited. It's her Stairway to Heaven.
8. Thank U (from Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, 1998)
I wrote about what this song means to me here, so I don't have much else to say. Oh, she was buck naked in the video.
9. That I Would Be Good (from Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, 1998)
Raw, minimal and heartfelt.
10. Hands Clean (from Under Rug Swept, 2001)
One of her catchiest melodies, Hands Clean tells a juicy two narrator tale taken right from Alanis' past. Apparently she got into a sexual relationship with an older producer/manager in her teen pop days. Isn't the fact that she says "I will honor your request for silence" kind of disingenuous? I mean, won't people who know the situation be able to figure out now that you wrote a freaking song about it?!
11. Precious Illusions (from Under Rug Swept, 2001)
Alanis really had her compositional mojo working on this record. A great pre-chorus and chorus buoy up more self-realization lyrics.
12. Everything (from So-Called Chaos, 2004)
As I conclude, it occurs to me that those looking to save some money on therapy just needs to get Alanis' four albums and spend some time with them. It's all there. Everything is a bonus because it's a love song too.