It's Not Me. It's You.

I really dislike "blame songs." You know, the kind where the singer spends two verses, a chorus and a bridge reeling off everything that's wrong with you (or, more precisely, the ex they're apparently singing at). You don't do this, you don't like that, blah blah blah.

Back in my ad agency days, I worked with a young woman who, in the wake of her divorce and an ugly side-project break-up, did what every young woman did in 1995: she came to the office every morning and put on Alanis Morisette's Jagged Little Pill. To my chagrin and against my will, I got an intimate knowledge of that album.

I still don't like it much. Partly because the production style fits the title: Jagged Little Pill is the audio equivalent of broken glass in a metal bucket. Digital distortion sucks, no matter who your producer is (I'm looking at you, Glen Ballard, you with your rack of ADATs, you).

But mostly because the songs flop back and forth between "you filthy bastard, I wish you agony and disease and heartbreak" and "hey, I'm just being little old free-spirited me, whom you should love regardless of how my whimsy may ruin your life." God knows what the paramour being shrieked at in "You Oughta Know," has actually done except stop calling her, but whatever he did it apprently makes him very bad and he should feel bad. But don't try to tag Alanis with that can of Krylon: she's this and she's that, she's up and she's down, she's all and she's nothing, she can't be pinned down and that's your problem, too. ("Hand In My Pocket.")

This is the message of the entire album. Mr. Hideous Jackass Boyfriend the Third is to be held accountable for every stupid thing he ever said or did, while Ms. Jagged Herself is exempt, 'cause God isn't done with her yet ("You Learn"). Morisette brings the full weight of her 19-year-old insight into love and and pain to the entire production. (In the following two years, she discovered Buddhism, thankfulness, and the Eightfold Path, and toned her anger down, along with her career... like the 2016 Presidential Election, it turns out all they wanted was the anger.)

I came to dislike Jagged Little Pill intensely. And to be honest, I hope that both my former colleague and Alanis have, too, and have further come to realize that everybody is more or less a mess. The jagged little pill is prescribed to us at birth.