Is Alanis’ jagged little pill increasingly had to swallow?

By Erin Ryan-Walsh

As a result of listening to far too much CJAY 92 on my car radio, I have decided to explore the reasons behind my severe distaste for Canada’s very own Supposed Former Infatuation Junky or more appropriately Canada’s Supposed Former Dance Queen. Is it because she is overplayed? Is it because she is a former dance queen? Is it because she posed naked in a video for a song about India which perpetuates misconceived Eastern notions that all North American women are pornstars? While all these reasons irritate me, I hate Alanis because in her pathetic attempt at angst and self-exploration, she has come to represent my generation.

Have you ever noticed Alanis’ excessive use of the word “I”? All of Alanis’ songs are about Alanis, and Alanis’ rough life growing up in a middle class Ottawa family. So you were the high school slut who dated some bad boys-get over it. Listening to Alanis is like reading someone’s diary. Alanis, I don’t want to read your diary or the letters you never sent, but thank you for sharing. Just like every good kid in the ’90s Alanis has had her heart broken, learned the use of literary devices such as irony, had some kind of breakdown, popped some Prozac or “antibiotics,” as she refers to them, and dabbled in Eastern spirituality. Regardless of her success, something seems to be lacking in her life. Not unlike most of the people I know, she seems to be on a quest for something greater than what she has.

Our culture is on a downward spiral heading toward self-destruction as the number of people on anti-depressants increases, as kids continue to kill their peers, and as we all become more and more underwhelmed(1). No one I know is really excited about anything any more. More so they find themselves in an increasingly competitive world where there is little direction or reasonable advice on how to live your life. Oftentimes, I turn to music and literature for some insight, and while Alanis has the potential to fill my void she is a constant disappointment. Alanis is just as confused as the rest of us, and instead of writing something useful she offers her listeners some pretty useless advice-read or sing your diary to the world, love yourself excessively, and grow your hair really, really long. Thirty-five years ago Bob Dylan told us that, “The Times They Are A-Changing,” and I guess this is what they’ve changed into.

1. She was underwhelmed if that’s a word. I know it’s not because I looked it up, that’s one of the skills I learned in my school when I was young (Sloan).

Leave a comment