Whilst I normally post only travel-related entries, this blog, jagged little earth, was obviously named after the legendary album Jagged Little Pill, and so it only makes sense that I write about the biggest-selling female rock artist of all-time Alanis Morissette’s show in Guadalajara, México.
The formerly Rolling Stone’s “Angry White Female” was a part of the first ever Corona Capital line-up in the second-biggest city in the country, receiving second-billing behind only the “Mr. Brightside” band The Killers.
While her popularity has undoubtedly waned through the years, despite the fact that her latest album, Havoc and Bright Light, still managed to début No 1 globally with a record broken, she was received by a big and eager audience at the music festival, with her set being between 8.10pm and 9.40pm, coincidentally the time of the sunset in the state capital of Jalisco.
The Canadian-American pop-rocker began her set with the album track “Forgiven” from the best-selling female rock album in history, Jagged Little Pill. An interesting case indeed, as it’s undeniably an anti-Catholic anthem and México is a Catholic country. It’s likely to be intentional as well, as she hadn’t been opening her sets with the hard rock tune in her recent concerts.
The mother of two then transitioned into “21 Things I Want In A Lover”, the opening track and final single to the global No 1 record, Under Rug Swept. She even made a lyrical change, changing “brother” to “sister”.
The performance of “All I Really Want” was quite interesting considering the fact that it contained the line “if only I could kill the killer”.
The “Sister Blister” songstress then preached feminism in this highly patriarchal Latin American nation with a single from her current LP, “Woman Down”.
Soon after pausing to drink some water, she went back to the biggest-selling début album of all-time to perform the world-wide smash “You Learn”.
Following that was “Perfect”, her favourite song from the Grammy Album of the Year and Best Rock Album.
Leaving temporarily from her anger phrase, she performed the lead to her 2012 album, “Guardian”, a song she wrote for her first-born son, and one that she said might be a good message for the Mexican children in the audience.
The multi-time Grammy-winning Miss Thing then turned back to iconic album for the album cut “Right Through You”.
After that, the hit single “Hand In My Pocket”, but the acoustic version from Jagged Little Pill Acoustic, the commemorative album released to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of what is widely regarded as one of the best albums in contemporary music.
Continuing on to her positive phrase, the buddhavista did the world’s Top 10 single “Everything”, the lead to So-Called Chaos, another one of her albums that entered the United World Chart at the penthouse.
One love song after another – it’s the JLP megahit “Head Over Feet”. Like in HIMP, the audience went wild when she played the harmonica. Legend.
The rest of the show seemed to be “hits only”, as she progressed with the 3-week No 2 global smash “Hands Clean”. Kind of ironic as the people in the audience at the time was probably bopping to Shakira’s “Whenever Wherever”, the biggest hit of the year and the one song that blocked HC from ever reaching the summit.
After that was First Lady of Rage’s biggest chart hit, “Ironic”. Since it was done with a full band as it was in the original take, people did not expect her to adopt the lyrical change in the acoustic version changing “wife” to “husband” to support gay marriage. The crowd once again went wild upon hearing “husband”.
With only three songs left, Alanis who has now found true bliss after acquiring true knowledge in Buddhism, belted out her classic “You Oughta Know”, a record that won various Grammy awards including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rock Song, and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.
The penultimate performance was reserved for the haunting tune that damaged the charts in its time, the City of Angels theme “Uninvited”.
To conclude her gig, as usual, she finished it off with the India-inspired No 1 hit “Thank U”, the first single from the record-breaking chart-topping album Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. In fact, she was one of the reasons why I visited India.
What? Alanis who? IDontKnowHer.gif? Well, do you know Avril Lavigne? Sheryl Crow? Kelly Clarkson? P!nk? Katy Perry? Taylor Swift? The Reverend Adele MBE?
Whilst rock music has always been popular, and there had been prominent women in pop music before Alanis, AM was the very first female confessional singer-songwriter to not only be popular, but to dominate the scene. Even though divas like The Queen of Pop Madonna and Mariah Carey wrote most of their songs, they didn’t package themselves as composers.
Alanis, much like Robin Sparkle from How I Met Your Mother (modeled after Alanis), started out being ordinary with mindless bubblegum pop tunes such as “Too Hot”, with minimum success on the Canadian charts.
But after the dance début and the ballads-filled sophomore, she turned to Glen Ballard, a veteran musician who has done work on Thriller, to make her first international record. She started using music to express herself emotionally, and Jagged Little Pill happened. Unlike the divas of her time, she wasn’t selling her face, her body, or her stage presence (of which she still has very little); she can certainly sing, but she isn’t selling vocal like Whitney Houston was. People couldn’t even tell how she looked like as her face was blurred on the album cover and mostly covered throughout the “You Oughta Know” video. What she was selling was different – raw emotions.
Raw emotions? Who does this remind you of? Adele? Indeed.
Writing about her own real stories? How about Taylor Swift?
A rock girl who just doesn’t care about her appearance? P!nk?
Her legacy in fact is arguably further than just that, to different extents, she has influenced the likes of Shakira, Beyoncé, Ashlee Simpson etc.
She might not have offered a mould for everyone after her to follow, but she did certainly built the groundwork for it. Her classics might not get that many radio plays any more, her sales have been relatively disappointing, but there’s a reason why “You Oughta Know” is still covered, why Jagged Little Pill is still selling, and indeed why it even got not only just one, but two anniversary re-releases. The Queen of Pop herself stated that Alanis (whom she signed) was an artist who came only once in a long while.