Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Jagged Little Pill (Acoustic)

Bought Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill Acoustic tonight on iTunes before Anna and I drove to Carroll. I had seen it at Starbucks in Iowa City a week or so ago but balked at spending $17.99 for songs that I technically already own. But when it became available on iTunes today, I couldn't resist the $9.99 sticker price. I always like Jagged Little Pill although mostly I started listening to Alanis because of the Madonna connection (Alanis is on Maverick Records, the vanity label Madonna started around the time of Erotica.) The album is classic 90s and listening to it 10 years later (and believe me, I haven't listened to it much in at least the last 5 years or so) was kind of a weird experience. I've always felt a little bit bad for Alanis because of the massive success of JLP. It's her Thriller--selling a bajillion copies with no hope of any follow up--no matter how good--coming even close to selling a comparable amount. Consequently, everything she's done since has been seen as a failure, or at the very least, underperforming. And that's sad because "Thank U", "Uninvited" and the absolutely brilliant "Surrendering" (from Under Rug Swept) are as good as anything on JLP.

The CD doesn't break any new ground--although I didn't really expect it to. Alanis has done acoustic versions of these songs before most notably on Alanis Unplugged but even her Grammy performance of "You Oughta Know" was acoustic the year she cleaned up at the Grammys. And, of course, it's not like we haven't heard these songs before. But what it did remind me of was how brilliant the last half of the album really is. Pretty much starting with "You Learn" and going all the way through the rest of the CD, it's standout song after standout song.

Listening to "Ironic" today (all the "there's nothing in the song that's ironic!" debates aside) just serves to show how much Alanis is defined by this album and (arguably) this song. And I had to chuckle when she changes the line "it's like meeting the man of your dreams/and then meeting his beautiful wife" to "his beautiful husband." Way to go, Alanis! "Not The Doctor" (another great song from the last half of the album) is altered from its original version by making the verses in a minor key and the chorus in the regular major key.

But perhaps the most remarkable change is the bulking up of "Your House"--the hidden track at the end of JLP. Originally an a cappella, it benefits greatly from the addition of instrumentation. The song is solidified and fully a part of the album. And the lyrics--well, they're a heartbreaker.

Definitely worth the 10 bucks I spent on iTunes.

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