1995 Maverick Records
Starting off with the Something Old, we have an album that went DIAMOND in the US. For those not familiar with industry lingo, that’s sales of 10 million copies. It has actually sold 16 million copies in the US, and 33 million worldwide. At the time of release, Alanis, her management team, producer and label were just hoping to sell enough so they could make another record. Safe to say they did. Alanis actually started out her career in Canada as a Debbie Gibson (Google her) style pop star. She released 2 albums in Canada only, that were moderate successes. When her contract was up, she moved to Los Angeles and together with producer Russ Ballard wrote and recorded Jagged Little Pill, a complete 180-degree turn from the music she had previously made. Once finished, they shopped it to labels, most of which said; No. The label that finally said Yes was Madonna’s label, Maverick Records. Not knowing what to expect, the first single “You Outta Know” became a hit in LA, and soon, a worldwide smash. The album spawned an insane six singles (half of the albums songs), with the fourth single, “Ironic” being the one that blew the top off and propelled it past that coveted 10 million mark
. I was in high school when this album came out and I didn’t know many females into rock music that didn’t own it, almost as a call to arms. There were plenty of women in rock before Alanis, but she connected in a way that none of them were able to before. I think there are many reasons for that, aside from the songs themselves being well produced with hooks. The material ranges from outright rock songs to slower ballad type material.
However, if you really look at the lyrical content, the central theme seems to be a a young woman who was burned in love, and is exploring all the emotions that come from that. Ranging from seething anger to shades of hope, that kind of honesty is easy for people to make an emotional connection with as it is very relatable. And I don’t mean this in any negative way, while talented, Alanis in many ways is very average. While pretty, she was not pushing some unattainable standard of beauty. She looked like your every day pretty girl in her late teens early 20’s. And while her voice was adequate, it wasn’t GREAT. She strained to hit higher notes, and didn’t have a particularly great vocal range. What she was able to do was harness that voice and deliver her words in a way that made the emotion behind them come across so genuinely that it just…. connected. She was the right voice at the right time with the right record and listening to it now brings me back to a time where this cassette was in just about every rock girls walkman, and her video’s were all over television. Alanis never reached that level of success again, but she didn’t have to. Her mark on the cultural landscape is just too big to ignore.
The Chicks – Gaslighter
2020 Columbia Records
I’ve heard a lot of their songs, as 20 years ago they were unavoidable. And to me, this is an album made by a group of artists that have been through some very tough times, and are expressing that emotion and life experience through their music. It sounds geniune and it sounds raw at times. A very interesting record by a group who’ve had a very interesting history.
Thanks again for reading! This is dedicated to all the mothers in our lives! You are loved and you are appreciated.