3 Eternal Rock Songs by Alanis Morissette

Canadian-born actor-turned-rock star Alanis Morissette was inescapable in the 1990s—not that you would want to avoid her music then, it was that good. Indeed, Morissette’s 1995 LP Jagged Little Pill was a veritable greatest hits album, each track spawning another big single for the songwriter and performer. Since then, though, her songs have lived on, standing the test of time.

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For the person who appeared on the popular kids 1980s show You Can’t Do that on Television to the woman who grew up and owned the alternative rock airwaves, Morissette became one of the most popular people on Earth prior to the dawn of the 21st century. And here below, we wanted to share a trio of songs by her that have lived on. Indeed, three eternal rock tracks.

[RELATED: Remember When: Taylor Hawkins Was Alanis Morissette’s Drummer]

“Hand in My Pocket” from Jagged Little Pill (1995)

Harmonica solos and hand gestures, this song brought so many catch phrases to the culture when it was released on the 1995 LP Jagged Little Pill. If that record was something of a greatest hits album for Morissette, then this song was something of a greatest hits of lyrics. Truly, the artist knew how to catch an ear and in many ways she was at the center of the zeitgeist in the mid-’90s, a combination of rebel and superstar. This song is an anthem for the young and creative. On the track Morissette sings,

I feel drunk, but I’m sober
I’m young, and I’m underpaid
I’m tired, but I’m working, yeah
I care, but I’m restless
I’m here, but I’m really gone
I’m wrong, and I’m sorry, baby


And what it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be quite all right
‘Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is flickin’ a cigarette

“Ironic” from Jagged Little Pill (1995)

Never before has a song brought to the forefront a linguistic concept quite like “Ironic.” So many have wondered whether all the examples Morissette brings up in this song—from rain on your wedding day to free advice you didn’t take—are true demonstrations of irony, which is defined as “the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite.” Nevertheless, this track has spawned about a billion lyrical beltings as Generation Y drivers have driven down the highway. Sings Morissette on this hit,

It’s like rain on your wedding day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid
It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
And who would’ve thought… it figures

Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
“Well isn’t this nice…”
And isn’t it ironic… don’t you think

“You Oughta Know” from Jagged Little Pill (1995)

A breakup song for the ages. What makes this song even more wild is that is said to be about another TV star from the era, Dave Coulier. This song is a scream into a mirror, smashing it. It’s a bass-driven angry rant. It’s emotions laced with music. It’s rage and it’s power. On the track, which helped make Morissette a foul-mouthed star,

Did you forget about me
Mr. Duplicity? I hate to bug you in the middle of dinner
But it was a slap in the face
How quickly I was replaced
And are you thinking of me when you f–k her

‘Cause the love that you gave that we made
Wasn’t able to make it enough for you to be open wide
No, and every time you speak her name
Does she know how you told me
You’d hold me until you died?
‘Til you died, but you’re still alive

And I’m here, to remind you
Of the mess you left when you went away
It’s not fair, to deny me
Of the cross I bear that you gave to me
You, you, you oughta know

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Photo by Sonia Recchia/Getty Images

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