Growing Old along with Alanis Morissette
Yes, I admit it: I was one of those people who gave up on Alanis after her Unplugged album. When I heard “Hands Clean” from Under Rug Swept, I disowned her as the voice of my tortured soul.
When Jagged Little Pill came out, I was a teenager scorned who had never had a boyfriend but a series of crushes that went all wrong. “Ya Oughta Know” screamed my angst and pain, “Perfect” explained the pressures I felt from my parents to be the overachieving, A+ child, and “You Learn” reminded me that life taught me lessons that I would have to learn from. Morissette’s follow up, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie still had the right amount of angst for me. 1998 was the year that I became a Christian, but was still searching for inner peace. “Baba” was a cynical song about Eastern religion that I identified with as I wasn’t fully sold on Buddhism, “Thank U” reminded me to be thankful to God and the universe for all the blessings life afforded me, and “Heart of the House” inspired me to become the “goddess” of my home one day.
Most people thought Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie was a let-down, but I thought it was an astonishing sophomore follow-up. Unplugged was my last Morissette album. “No Pressure Over Cappuccino” spoke about the paradoxes of life to me, and “Princes Familiar” made me think that one day, just one day, I’d meet a man who treated me like a princess the way my father always treated me. (That dream has come true, by the way.)
Then I heard “Hands Clean” and thought, Alanis doesn’t speak for me anymore. I need angst. Alanis sucks without the angst. But that’s because I had just gotten out of a relationship gone wrong, and suddenly songs like No Doubt’s “Ex-Girlfriend” were speaking for me.
But I’m rediscovering Alanis. She has grown out of her angst and so have I, making me more receptive to her softer, more contemplative side. Now, I am going through and listening to havoc and bright lights, Flavors of Entanglement, So-Called Chaos, and Under Rug Swept only to realize that I can still identify with her songs but on a different level than before. I’ve grown older with Alanis Morissette, and I’m glad that she didn’t stay trapped in her angst because really, who wants to experience that emotion forever? She would have been stagnant as an artist and artistry is all about evolving. And art sure imitates life.