When my computer(s) died, I lost a lot of music along with them, and have been re-installing music piecemeal. Yesterday I finally re-burned a copy of Alanis Morissette’s first album, Jagged Little Pill.
And I was reminded of what I love it so much.
Oh, sure, she got the “you must be a femi-nazi bitch who hates men” label after this album, which secrely pleased me. I love You Outta Know. I think it’s the star of the album, though every single other song ain’t bad either.
I was surprised to read this piece (scroll down) over at The Hathor Legacy that, while affirming the fanasticness of the album, expresses frustration about the rap Alanis got for this album, and particularly, for You Outta Know. She argues that there are a lot of really powerful songs besides You Outta Know on the album (which is true), and that Alanis got tagged as an evil, angry woman unfairly, and you should look at the album as a whole, and blah blah basically “Hey, she’s not *just* an angry woman! She’s a talented artist!”
It’s really shitty that we feel we have to defend angry women by pointing out that they’re really great artists (I’m trying to think of angry men whose artistic talent gets overlooked because they’re too “angry” and I’m not coming up with anyone. Feel free to correct me). But I don’t want to defend angry women artists by saying they “aren’t as angry as you think they are.”
I WANT her to be that angry. That’s what I fucking love about You Outta Know and the album as a whole. All of sudden there’s all this honest emotion: not cutesy little, “Oh, I love you and all the shiny flowers even though you cheated on me” crap, but real, “I cared about you and you fucked me over you asshole” anger. And “I thought this relationship was something it really wasn’t” anger. And “this isn’t quite the life I was looking for” anger.
Anger is good.
Lack of anger and frustration actually really turned me off the second album. Not that I *hated* her second album, but it doesn’t connect with me the way Jagged Little Pill does. I mean, maybe once you make a lot of money and run off to India for a few years, you aren’t angry anymore. But, you know, Pink has a lot of money, and I think she had some great ass-kicking songs in I’m Not Dead.
I don’t want to feel I have to defend an artist cause she’s angry. I want to go, “She’s really angry! Isn’t that cool!?”
Because it is cool. What nobody seems to get is that the flipside of anger is often sadness; anger is just a more powerful way to express oneself than sadness (and more socially acceptable among men. Men are encouraged to get angry instead of being sad. Women are just supposed to be sad). If you want to know what the song’s really about, try listening to You Outta Know again – particulary the slow, sad, alternate take she did at the Grammies.
That’ll stop your heart.
But most days, I prefer the pissed-off version. Most days, it feels truer. And it’s telling the truth that’s going to connect with people; or piss them off.