Feminine icon Morissette finds balance between her career and a personal life
June 29, 2005 - The moment when it was apparent that the 1995 Alanis Morissette CD, "Jagged Little Pill" was going to be more than just a hit album is still a vivid memory.
The CD had not been out for long, and Morissette was on a club tour just as "Jagged Little Pill" was set for takeoff. The lead single, "You Oughta Know," had caught on at radio, making Morissette an artist to watch.
When she performed the single that night, it seemed as if the hundreds of women in the crowd already had committed every word to memory as they robustly sang along with Morissette.
A young woman directly in front of me was particularly energized by "You Oughtta Know" and its blunt retort to a former lover for the emotional wreckage he caused by dallying with an older woman. As the song reached its chorus the woman turned to look directly at me and howled the song's scathing lyrics, while emphatically pointing her finger toward my face.
At that moment I was thankful I wasn't her ex-boyfriend – and it was also clear that Morissette had struck a nerve, expressing the feelings of betrayal, anger and pain countless women felt toward men who had strayed or otherwise let them down.
This summer Morissette marks the 10th anniversary of "Jagged Little Pill" by releasing a newly recorded acoustic version of the CD and touring in an acoustic format with a show that will draw heavily from that album.
It's unusual for an artist to revisit and celebrate an earlier album in this manner. But as that club show a decade ago hinted, "Jagged Little Pill" wasn't just any album.
Rarely before had an artist released a collection of songs whose lyrics were so jarringly honest, so bluntly worded and so rawly emotional. From that point on, songwriters – especially women – have felt empowered to express their thorniest emotions with a candor that seemed off limits before then.
"I really do see both sides of it," Morissette said in a recent interview.
"At the same time, I don't want to avoid what actually wound up happening on a fairly large level," she said. "I do feel like a huge part of shift of that model, and I'm happy for it. The thought of me inspiring other artists to be authentic and transparent and vulnerable and authentic in their songs in the way I have been, that excites me."
With the 10th anniversary of "Jagged Little Pill" approaching, Morissette wanted to find an appropriate way to re-invent the CD – and re-visit that period in her life.
On a personal level, she is clearly a different person a decade later. The Morissette on the original "Jagged Little Pill" was clearly showing her youth, as she wrestled with romantic struggles, issues of self-image (on "Perfect" and "You Learn") and spirituality ("Forgiven").
Today, she seems far more centered and has found a better balance between her career and personal life. She is engaged to actor Ryan Reynolds, and clearly excited about their future together. Morissette, though, said much of her contentment comes from efforts to better herself.
"I think a lot of that has to do with my really developing my sense of spirit," she said.
Alanis Morissette plays July 2 at the Fox Theatre, 527 N. Grand. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show, which also features Jason Mraz, are $69.50, $59.50 and $37.50.