Right, time to wrap up this selection of my favourite Alanis songs with my top ten. This comes just in time for her new album “Havoc and Bright Lights”, coming out in a few weeks too, I wonder if I’ll add any songs from that into my all-time list!
Remember all these songs have the Youtube links so you can listen to the songs you don’t know (or the ones you already love!)
10. The couch (from Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie)
A bit of a funny one now (aren’t they ALL) from SFIJ. Another stream of consciousness piece with no discernible chorus or anything silly like that. But it’s really captivating, telling a story about a few people (not entirely sure I’ve de-tangled who is who) going through their issues on a psychiatrist’s couch. I think Alanis’s big strength lies as a storyteller, and while she usually sticks to airing her own grievances this little story being woven really gets me every time.
The moody atmospherics of the production really set things going too, a perfect embassador for the rather bleak wasteland of misery that SFIJ exists in.
9. Eight easy steps (from So-called Chaos)
The GH single that never was, or at least the video treatment that would have been perfect for such an occasion. I’m not even CLAIMING “The Collection” as a sensible GH collection really, sorry.
Totally open and honest about all her worst flaws in a brillantly energetic 3 minute burst, pretty much going “If you want to be a massive fuckup, please listen to me, I’m an EXPERT”. So in that respect I LOVE the idea behind this song! That video really does steal the show though, borrowing scenes from all stages of her career in reverse order with a rather creepy facial re-dubbing to sync along with the new song, has to be seen to be believed…
8. Out is through (from So-called Chaos)
Oh Alanis, I’m glad things are working out, I can relate to her shitty self-esteem issues on many occasions and this is certainly one of them. I loved this album, it’s really accessible and pacey enough to not get too bogged down in downtempo misery. I’m sure most of us can relate to wanting to just give up whatever is stressing us out, I certainly feel like that many times a week.
It’s a happy ending though, she seems to get over this and decides that you should stick with things until their conclusion. ALL’S WELL then. The backing might be a bit generic MoR but for some reason I really love it, just gives me a smile when I hear it.
7. Joining you (from Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie)
More powerful stuff from SFIJ, and another captivating story about a friend wanting to top themselves. Those crunching guitars really throw their full weight behind this one, even though the chorus is surprisingly tender and passionate. It’s a little more intense a personal experience than I’ve really come into contact within real life, but I love how it has more of a “snap out of it, think about what you’re doing” vibe to it than the huggier Mary Jane from JLP.
Too good to be a single really, but I’m glad it was one in the end.
6. Head over feet (from Jagged Little Pill)
Back to the radio-friendly tunes now I think. Probably one of the oldest ones too, I have fond memories of the summer (1997 I think) when I first got this album and played it while lying out in the garden (never got a bloody tan either, when I found a spider nest in the hammock one time that was IT). Anyway, a really quite straightforward love song, I have to crack a smile for all its retarded qualities, straying back into Phoebe Buffay territory in places, especially the la la la’s towards the end. But really charming lovely song, I haven’t got tired of it after all this time.
5. Excuses (from So-called Chaos)
So-called Chaos takes a bow now, and this track was a really wonderful discovery. All about how it’s all too easy to blame circumstances for your shortcomings, and goodness knows I know all about that. It really spoke to me when I first heard it, I just GET IT. There’s not a lot more to it than that.
Musically it’s got a great tempo to it, not drowning in self-indulgence moaning, instead it fills full of optimism, and now I’m living somewhere with curtains it makes me want to THROW THEM OPEN and embrace a new day. Or something, it’ll probably be rubbish.
4. Hands Clean (from Under Rug Swept)
Despite favouring its followup, Under Rug Swept has the last laugh and its clear highlight puts it comfortably in my top 5. A wonderful comeback single, and one I think is still very popular with many fans. Gorgeous video, perhaps autobiographical, I mean we know she rose to fame with some rather pissed-off music… but anyway it’s got a great look to it, really well executed.
The song is a pretty gentle guitar-driven feelgood song (though the lyrics aren’t particularly sunny). Gorgeous middle-8, and sounds fabulous in the numerous acoustic versions I’ve heard since. LOVELY
3. Thank U (from Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie)
Time for SFIJ to bow out of the running now, with its lead single. I have very strong memories of when this came out, I’d just got my first job, it was a bit of a GRIND, and the nights were drawing in (about October), and I really clicked with this song. Still feels like utter nonsense from start to finish, but it’s just got such a warm feeling with it.
Shame it didn’t give her a bigger hit, coming at a landmark week for the charts with a clean sweep of top 5 new entries, but what a lovely way to start an album campaign.
2. Uninvited (from City of Angels OST)
I could not get through this countdown without such a dramatic EPIC like this high up in the ranks. Somehow it has fallen between the cracks between albums, but it’s still very well-known. I’m glad it got to be a hit in the UK in some capacity, in the form of that Freemasons version a few years back, but I really have to go back to the original on this one.
Every beat in this track has gravity, the drama of the full orchestra behind her vocals just gives me goosebumps even 12 years on. I can’t get enough of moments like this when she just pours EVERYTHING into the delivery of a song, it’s all I want from her. Not quite enough to take the gold, but a brilliant showing nonetheless.
1. You oughta know (from Jagged Little Pill)
There can only be one winner, and while Uninvited has kept me enthralled for years, I had a bit of a renaissance with one of the tracks that started it all off. The victory was sealed by just the sheer VENOM dripping out of this one, hell hath no fury like Alanis scorned.
She’s almost breathless with rage, spitting out that chorus, letting this guy know how DARE he move on happily with another woman? She even gets to the point where she’s annoyed by the fact that he hasn’t DIED rather than stay with her. It’s such a cathartic song, I can’t believe I ever forgot about it after the first time… but I won’t make that mistake again.