What It All Comes Down To: The Hits from Alanis Morissette's 'Jagged Little Pill'

Alanis Morissette in 1996
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David Corio/Redferns

On April 13, 1996 - 25 years ago as this sentence is written - Alanis Morissette had the top album in America with Jagged Little Pill. It wouldn't be the first time the record would claim the top spot, nor was it the last: it had done so for four weeks in February and March of that year, upping that total to 10 by September. But it was an impressive run for an album that was released a summer before, selling a staggering 33 million copies worldwide and establishing the former Canadian pop star as a singular talent.

Now, you may ask yourself: is it a "classic rock" record? Jagged Little Pill may not get played on stations alongside The Doors or Led Zeppelin, but don't let that fool you: this album rocks. Its five hit singles, which were all over radio stations for years, rock considerably. If Alanis Morissette ever gets into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this album will at least partially be why. But don't take our word for it: listen to the album's singles (and watch the eye-catching videos) and tell us what you think.

"You Oughta Know"

Look, if a multiple Grammy Award winner for Best Rock Song and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance - with crack performances by Dave Navarro and Flea on guitar and bass - doesn't convince you, nothing will. "You Oughta Know" crackles with as much rock energy as it does righteous rage for an ex-lover who Morissette will never name but everyone thinks is Uncle Joey from Full House.

"Hand in My Pocket"

Alanis' cockeyed poetry and bundle of contradictions are in some ways as cheeky as the days when Bob Dylan wore sunglasses indoors a lot and made fun of reporters without them really knowing it. Yeah, we said it. That's rock and roll, baby.


Is the irony that the song is not that ironic? Life has a funny way of obscuring the truth - but it can't be denied that this was the album's biggest hit, going Top 5 in America and becoming Alanis' second of four straight No. 1s in Canada. (Regardless, she's onto you.)

"You Learn"

This song is about self-empowerment and self-acceptance - not cars or dating, but there's no arguing that this song may be one of the hardest-rocking songs off the album.

"Head Over Feet"

Jagged Little Pill's final worldwide hit may be its most pop-oriented, but you've gotta respect that it came out as a single more than a year after the album was released. Doing things backwards like that is rock and roll. Jagged Little Pill is classic, and it's rock, so we're declaring this case closed.

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