Been thinking about Alanis Morissette's 'You Oughta Know' since hearing it in the ute at work, the radio of which is tuned to a commercial station.
It's another modern classic and I've been enjoying reading about the song and thinking about the '90s elements it encapsulates.
The anger in the lyrics is palpable and kinda grunge yet the song has rock infused with loops, including that Stone Roses/Manchester-esque shuffle. There's another Nirvana connection in that it sounds like their onetime producer Butch Vig's band Garbage.
Co-songwriter Glen Ballard has said anger isn't something he associates with Morissette:
She wasn’t angry at all. There was anger that informed that particular song, but mostly it was … Actually, we did a broken-down version of “You Oughta Know” with a string quartet, and I was playing piano, and you can hear the ache in the song on that [version]. It’s really more about the sense of betrayal than anger, and the anger comes out of the betrayal. The 20 times we got together in 1994 were probably the happiest times for both of us, because we never stopped laughing. I thought I was the funniest guy in the world because she was laughing at virtually everything I said, and she was funny, so when people started describing her as this angry young woman, it’s like, okay, I don’t think they understand that that was just a moment. She was smiling and laughing the whole time; really she was.
I think any sense it's angry really reinforces the idea that that emotion stems from disappointment. Anyway, I wonder if the version with strings sounds like this mash-up.
The other thing about the production is that heartbeat bassline and shimmering guitars come from Flea and Dave Navarro, who were in the Chili Peppers together around that time and later toured as Jane's Addiction. Morissette married Jesse Tobias, who played guitar with the Peppers for a while too. I'm sure LA is a big town but the professional music scene suddenly looks kinda small!
The intimate details in the lyrics attracted attention and one wonders if it reveals how young Morissette was at the time. In the interview above Ballard describes a toll that touring to support the album took on her.