Follow TV Tropes


Music / Jagged Little Pill

Go To
I've got one hand in my pocket, and the other one's holding up a peace sign.

Jagged Little Pill is Alanis Morissette's third and most famous album. It was released in 1995 to both critical and commercial acclaim all across the world. It is one of the best-selling albums of all time, and it won five Grammys, including the coveted "Album of the Year" award. The album provided hits such as "Ironic", "Hand in My Pocket" and "You Oughta Know". It was listed as the #327 greatest album of all time by Rolling Stone in 2003, and it is favorably compared to Carole King's Tapestry for its themes of heartbreak and failed relationships.

Recorded in 1994, when Morissette was merely nineteen, Jagged Little Pill showcased her Pop sensibilities, which shone through various Grunge and Alternative Rock-inspired riffs. Morissette's ability to compose songs quickly and effortlessly allowed for sun-drenched, radio-friendly tunes with angst-filled lyrics which resonated with teens and young women. She also produced Genre-Busting raw melodies backed by elaborate production styles, propelling the album's singles to become crossover hits. Feminist and sentimental themes throughout the album channeled artists as diverse as Madonna and Patti Smith, while pop singers such as Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne credit this record for inspiring their careers.


These days, it is best known for being the Trope Namer for Isn't It Ironic?, despite not being a good example. Morissette herself has acknowledged this repeatedly, and even claims that the song is ironically about a woman who doesn't know what irony is. Clever.

The album was adapted into stage musical by Diablo Cody that premiered in summer 2018 to strong reviews, ahead of a Broadway premiere in December 2019.



Side One
  1. "All I Really Want" (4:45)
  2. "You Oughta Know" (4:09)
  3. "Perfect" (3:08)
  4. "Hand in My Pocket" (3:42)
  5. "Right Through You" (2:56)
  6. "Forgiven" (5:00)
Side Two
  1. "You Learn" (4:00)
  2. "Head Over Feet" (4:27)
  3. "Mary Jane" (4:41)
  4. "Ironic" (3:50)
  5. "Not the Doctor" (3:48)
  6. "Wake Up" (4:54)

CD versions also have "You Oughta Know" (Jimmy the Saint Blend, with the Hidden Track "Your House" (A Cappella)" (8:13)

"And I'm here to remind you, of the tropes you left when you went away":

  • Abusive Parents: "Perfect" is about parents who live vicariously through their kids and humiliate and berate them for not meeting expectations.
    We love you just the way you are
    If you're perfect.
  • A Cappella: "Your House" is sung this way.
  • Album Title Drop: Jagged Little Pill comes from a line in "You Learn":
    Swallow it down (what a jagged little pill)
    It feels so good (swimming in your stomach)
  • Break Up Song: "You Oughta Know", where Alanis insults her former boyfriend and his new partner.
  • Coming of Age: "You Learn" about the learning process of life.
  • Crossing the Desert: Alanis does this in the music video of "You Oughta Know".
  • A Dog Named "Dog": "Right Through You"
    Hello Mr. Man.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: "All I Really Want"
    All I really want is some peace, man
    a place to find a common ground
    And all I really want is a wavelength
    All I really want is some comfort
    A way to get my hands untied
    And all I really want is some justice...
  • Face on the Cover: Alanis' face in close-up.
  • Friends with Benefits: The Trope Namer, coined on "Head Over Feet".
    You're my best friend
    Best friend with benefits
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Literally, in the case of the music video for "Hand in My Pocket". At the point where the 'bad' part of "chickenshit" is muted out, one of the parade marchers steps in a pile of manure.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: "You Oughta Know" where the jealous protagonist is giving her former partner a "Reason You Suck" Speech, insulting his new partner too.
  • Hidden Track: "Your House".
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: "Hand in My Pocket" is full of these sentences.
  • Isn't It Ironic?: Her most famous song is the Trope Namer, even if it doesn't fit the trope.
  • Irony: Debate is still going on whether the situations listed in "Ironic" are actually ironic at all (one that does fit is the guy afraid of flying who decides to finally ride an airplane "and as his plane crashed down, he thought 'Well, isn't this nice?'").
  • "I Want" Song: "All I Really Want", where the protagonist lists all the things she wants in life.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: "Not the Doctor":
    I don't want to be adored
    For what I merely represent to you
    I don't want to be your babysitter
    You're a very big boy now
    I don't want to be your mother
    I didn't carry you in my womb for nine months
    Show me the back door
  • List Song: "Hand in My Pocket", listing sentences full of immediate contradictions, and "Ironic", listing stuff Alanis considers ironic.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: "You Oughta Know"
    Would she go down on you in a theatre?
  • Metal Scream: The choruses of "Ironic" and "You Oughta Know" are bellowed with passion.
  • New Sound Album: Compared to her previous output this album had a more hard rock/Post-Grunge sound.
  • One-Woman Song: "Mary Jane".
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: During the quiet moments, Alanis frequently employs this.
  • Precision F-Strike: "You Oughta Know"
    Are you thinking of me when you fuck her?
    • "You Oughta Know" is a classic case of bowdlerization not working. The song was very popular among teens, but of course, there's an F-bomb in it. At school dances and similar functions, the radio edit version would play where the offending word was simply muted. So what would happen when that spot in the song came up? Everyone in the room would shout out the offending word at the muted point. To be fair, most radio stations played it such that it went, "When you ffffff- her." Which actually sounded good too. In Rock Band 2, the solution they came up with was echoing the "you" before the F-bomb while muting it. Not that players cannot sing "fuck" (since there's technically no lyrics in that space, there's also no penalty).
  • Religion Rant Song: "Forgiven", where she slags off her Catholic upbringing pretty thoroughly.
  • Remaster: The 2015 deluxe edition featured a remaster of the album along with unreleased demos and some live tracks.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "All I Really Want" has Alanis comparing herself to Estella from Great Expectations, while having a confrontation with her partner about their uncomfortable relationship.
    • "Your House":
    Went down to the den
    Found your CDs
    And I played your Joni.
  • Shrouded in Myth: The identity of Alanis' former partner in "You Oughta Know".
  • Special Guest: The Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and guitarist Dave Navarro (the latter then-formerly of Jane's Addiction) feature on the track "You Oughta Know". The video also features Taylor Hawkins, who would go on to become the drummer for Foo Fighters.
  • Spoken Word: "Your House" is an a capella song.
  • Stage Mom: "Perfect", while not directly using the trope, describes the overbearing attitude and unrealistic expectations that many such mothers seem to have.
  • Stalker with a Crush: "Your House", the Hidden Track at the end of Jagged Little Pill. It's a song about sneaking into her ex-boyfriend's house and smelling his clothes. And now you know why men get scared when they hear Alanis' voice or find out that their girlfriends listen to her music.
  • Stop and Go: "All I Really Want" has such a moment.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Alanis, in a show of support, altered the lyrics of her song "Ironic" to:
    It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife,
    It's like meeting the man of my dreams... and meeting his beautiful husband
    • What would be rhyming couplets in the chorus for "Hand In My Pocket" are instead jumbled so that the second line from couplet A is instead the second line in couplet B, and so forth.
  • Surreal Music Video: "You Learn".
  • Take That!:
    • A rather brave one in "Right Through You", considering that it was released on Jagged Little Pill and thus released before she knew she'd be a runaway success.
    Now that I'm Miss Thang
    Now that I'm a zillionaire
    You scan the credits for your name
    And wonder why it's not there?
  • Unplugged Version: Jagged Little Pill Acoustic.
  • What You Are in the Dark: "Right Through You", directed at a "Mr. Man", about whom she claims: "I see right through you".
  • Your Cheating Heart: "You Oughta Know".

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: