back when you oughta know she made you swallow that jagged little pill
She came into our lives in 1995 like a blitzkrieg - sudden, strong and from all directions - through her cleverly and aptly titled album, Jagged Little Pill. And while everyone else loved the sound of Hand In My Pocket, Ironic and You Learn, I thought those songs were pretty sucky. The one that I liked - the only song of hers that I liked - was You Oughta Know.
I never was an Alanis fan. I disliked her sound and her fashion sense; I even wondered why producers invested in making her into a recording artist. She sang in a way that that reminded me of mating cats, or nails being dragged down a blackboard. I'd sampled her music months ahead of my friends because I tuned in to alternative radio, and by the time she hit mainstream I was already sick of hearing that whiny voice.
But all that aside, I loved You Oughta Know. It was so raw, the first time I heard it I could totally imagine a punk cover.
(All that angst, hair-throwing and seemingly carelessly put-together look is typical '90s rock. I wonder if Alanis cringes when she looks back at this.)
"It sounds too angry," I'd heard people say. But that's exactly the point. She was angry and she wanted the world to know. At one end it was embarrassing to hear someone spill her guts so poiselessly, at the other it liberating to know that someone could express herself unreservedly; somewhere in the middle it was extremely amusing. You kinda snicker with pity for the bloke who broke her heart (who probably didn't expect a hate-letter to come through the airwaves while the rest of the world listened). Of all her songs, this was the one I found to have the most character.
A bit of trivia: Dave Navarro played the guitars for it.
You Oughta Know came as a shock to most who weren't used to indie and the profanity of pre-existent metal. People remarked they have never heard a b**ch so angry, that her raw emotion and references to sex were startling, that there hasn't been anyone like her before and yadda yadda yadda. But of course it has been done before - and yes, even by dames - and Alanis was even polite compared to some of those I've heard in the early and mid-nineties that she didn't even shock me.
Three years after Jagged Little Pill was released, Alanis came out with Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. A less-angsty version of her came singing Thank You, seemingly nude in the middle of a city, and we thought WTF(?).
Eventually she grew up, cleaned up and slowly faded out. I don't even care what she's up to now.
Here are someone else's thoughts on Alanis and You Oughta Know. You oughta read it too.
A few years back someone did do a punk cover of You Oughta Know. I just don't know who it was.