With Alanis Morissette having just scored her sixth consecutive Billboard Top 10 album with Havoc & Bright Lights, now seems the perfect opportunity to look back at the ten best tracks of her career. Unsurprisingly, the list doesn’t feature anything from her Canadian teen-pop days.
Her first recording post-Jagged Little Pill, the dramatic piano chords and swirling strings of “Uninvited” was never officially released as a single but is arguably one of her most famous tracks. Partly because of its appearance in Meg Ryan flick City Of Angels and partly because of its tasteful dance anthem reworking by Freemasons almost a decade later.
2008’s Flavors Of Entanglement is considered by many to be her most disappointing and misguided album, but lead single “Underneath,” her most instant radio-friendly release in six years, proved to be its saving grace.
Taken from her most under-rated studio effort, 2002’s Under Rug Swept, “Flinch” is a gorgeously delicate ballad which sees Alanis reflect on a relationship gone sour in her own inimitable lyrical style.
07) “Eight Easy Steps”
2004’s So Called Chaos was her first album to miss the US No.1 spot but while it never reached the heights of her previous three efforts, it’s actually one of her most consistent. One of the heaviest tracks of her career, opener “Eight Easy Steps” was a bit of a curveball, but was just as inspired as the brilliant reverse timeline video.
Often overlooked by Jagged Little Pill’s incredible run of singles, “Perfect” was one of the most quietly affecting numbers on her huge mid-90s juggernaut. Alanis has never sounded so vulnerable on this emotive acoustic track which alluded to the overwhelming expectations a parent can place on their children.
The opening track from Under Rug Swept may have understandably scared off a number of potential suitors, but Alanis’ rather specific list of requirements for a partner at least resulted in this brilliantly spiky slice of girl power rock which proved that when it comes to relationships, she’s definitely in the driving seat.
Jagged Little Pill was already a multi-million seller by this time, but “Ironic” was the track which helped launch it into the stratosphere on its release in 1996. As Irish comic Ed Byrne famously pointed out, none of the examples of irony included are remotely ironic, but that doesn’t matter. Its buoyant chorus is easily the most sing-along moment of her career, ensuring it remains a radio staple to this day.
03) “Thank You”
Most of the attention might have been focused on its revealing video, but the angst-ridden melancholy of “Thank You” works just as well without images of Alanis wandering the streets in her birthday suit.
02) “Hands Clean”
There are few who could manage to make the story of a seedy relationship between a much older man and a naive teenager sound so harmonious as Alanis. Perhaps her last proper genuine chart smash, “Hands Clean” is a devastating recollection of memories from a doomed affair which seems to have unfairly been forgotten about when compared to her 90s hits.
01) ”You Oughta Know”
This is where it all started. Previously Canada’s answer to Debbie Gibson, Alanis reinvented herself as the ultimate girl not to be messed with on this furious riposte to an ex which is just as stinging and as thrilling 17 years on.