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Thank U

The KMA is all about Community! Well, Community and rockin’ tunes… and a lot of Aaron gibbering tempered with James’ greatness. And where does the Community come from? It’s built-in! You folks rock! Also, I read books about Zen, Tao, and philosophy as it pertains to being a decent human being. We’re all in this together, may as well at least try to be decent to each other!

Now, Alanis… I’ve been hearing this song from Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie on the sound system at work, and it always pleases me. I thought Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie was as strong as Jagged Little Pill ever was, even if it didn’t have as many singles or get as much attention – that’s hard to achieve, since JLP was so massive.

After the success of JLP, Alanis went to India to get a break, to re-center and, admit it, it’d just be cool to go check out India! She said ‘Basically, I had never stopped in my whole life, hadn’t taken a long breath, and I took a year and a half off and basically learned how to do that. When I did stop and I was silent and I breathed… I was just left with an immense amount of gratitude, and inspiration, and love, and bliss, and that’s where the song came from, you know.’

Some of it may seem strange, her thanking terror, disillusionment, frailty… but then right after those, she thanks consequence. She knows even anger and fear are part of life, and we can learn from them. All it takes is slowing down and paying attention. That she found things to be grateful for in the face of so much fame and approbation speaks to the strength of her character too. Some people would let it all go to their heads and become insufferable…

It’s such a simple tune, musically, but even that speaks volumes and matches the lyrics perfectly. The melody line is another memorable earworm, making it unavoidable. And I think it connects deep down on a level we can all understand, whether we’re aware of it in our daily lives or not. She hit the Universal, with this one (call it spiritual, if you must), a nice bell of mindfulness about your own need to take a moment, think about where you are and what you’re doing, to be grateful for what you have, and to move towards growth where it’s needed.

This section here: “The moment I let go of it / was the moment I got more than I could handle / The moment I jumped off of it / Was the moment I touched down.” Hell yes.

I love it. Check it out:

How ’bout getting off these antibiotics
How ’bout stopping eating when I’m full up
How ’bout them transparent dangling carrots
How ’bout that ever elusive kudo

Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence

How ’bout me not blaming you for everything
How ’bout me enjoying the moment for once
How ’bout how good it feels to finally forgive you
How ’bout grieving it all one at a time

Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence

The moment I let go of it
was the moment I got more than I could handle
The moment I jumped off of it
Was the moment I touched down

How ’bout no longer being masochistic
How ’bout remembering your divinity
How ’bout unabashedly bawling your eyes out
How ’bout not equating death with stopping

Thank you India
Thank you providence
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you nothingness
Thank you clarity
Thank you thank you silence

Alanis Morissette – Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie

With Jagged Little Pill, Alanis got blasted into the stratosphere. The world was hers. If she’d wanted to be snorting coke off the bellies of beluga whales, I’m sure someone in her employ would have made that happen.

But what really happened to Alanis when fame hit hard? After the shit really got real and expectations were so high for the follow-up? She made a record even better than Jagged Little Pill.

Look at the cover. She’s smiling, and the text is a reference to the eight precepts of Buddhism. That’s all well and good, but when one of them is “Please refrain from… playing music, singing,” well, one wonders why that is on the cover of a music album. Ah well. Instead of letting the fame sweep her away into unreality, she went inside, deeper, and came back stronger and more gracious.

Her songs are still insanely catchy pages ripped out of her diary. Her voice has not changed, and she’s now even tackling playing the flute (poorly), but to the same effect the harmonica on Jagged had. It’s just bad enough to be good. The album had five singles: Thank U, Joining You, Unsent, So Pure, and That I Would Be Good, all of which are excellent. And there are so many other great songs here, besides.

These days, when I wanna play Alanis, this is the album for which I’ll reach first. I love it. It’s searching, it’s open, it’s clear-eyed. It’s the older, calmer sister of Jagged.

Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill

You don’t need me to tell you about this album. Even if you weren’t a fan back then, or aren’t now, or never were, you’ll have heard most of this damn thing everywhere and at every opportunity. It sold over two million copies (2x Diamond) in Canada alone (we only have 35 million people), and she toured the world for 18 months on its back.

It spawned 6 singles, all of which you’ll know by name: You Oughta Know, Hand In My Pocket, Ironic, You Learn, Head Over Feet, All I Really Want… See what I mean? And the rest of the songs could/should have been singles as well: Perfect, Right Through You, Forgiven, Mary Jane, Not The Doctor and Wake Up. There’s even an alternate version of You Oughta Know tacked onto the end, with a hidden track [Your House (A Capella)] too!

So rarely in Canadian music history (Bryan Adams’ Reckless comes to mind, there will be a few rare others) has a pop/rock album come so packed to the gills with perfectly conceived and packaged songs and that absolutely exploded as these rare records do. This was aimed at the charts, and it hit them. A lot.

OK, so it was popular (and still is). What did I think of it now, in 2014? It’s still damned good. These are solid songs. I still knew every word – proof that they are permanently lodged in my brain. And I always liked that, despite being a damned-near perfect record, there are still imperfections. Her voice… well, she can sing… but then sometimes she can’t. Her harmonica playing… yeah. But those are its charms, the rough bits that, in tandem with the perfection of the rest of it, make this Diamond (Record) shine.

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