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Alanis Morisette Never Forgets.

Alanis Morisette must be the most completely berserk girlfriend in the entire universe. After starting her career and sleeping with her manager as a tween pop star in Canada she became the Carrie of pop: a haragon after being dumped by her boyfriend (Full Houses’ Dave Coulier) on “You’ve Gotta Know”, a wacked out illiterate on “Isn’t It Ironic” and optimistic buzz kill on “Hand In Pocket. on on her first album, Jagged Little Pill.

But her audience, at least before the album broke pop, was teen girls not dissimilar to Ani DiFranco, a mix of teen dykes and indie chicks. At Roseland in 1995 the adience were vibing, and Alanis with her long curly hair halway down her back was a cross between a hippy child and a man hating mass murderer. Boy, did we fuck her up or what? Even the guys stopped getting off on the “did I go down on you in the theatre.


So I can’t believe her problem was Dave Coulier, the pudgy faced lousy ventriquilist overwheleed by everybody else in the cast. And apparently it wasn’t. In 2002 Alanis released her best album and here are the lyrics to the song “Hands Clean”  track, Under Rug Swept about her married magaer when she was sixteen years old:
 
If it weren’t for your maturity none of this would have happened


If you weren’t so wise beyond your years I would’ve been able to control myself
If it weren’t for my attention you wouldn’t have been successful and
If it weren’t for me you would never have amounted to very much


Ooh this could be messy
But you don’t seem to mind
Ooh don’t go telling everybody
And overlook this supposed crime

We’ll fast forward to a few years later
And no one knows except the both of us
And Ihave honored your request for silence
And you’ve washed your hands clean of this


You’re essentially an employee and I like you having to depend on me
You’re kind of my protégé and one day you’ll say you learned all you know from me
I know you depend on me like a young thing would to a guardian
I know you sexualize me like a young thing would and I think I like it


Ooh this could get messy
But ooh you don’t seem to mind
Ooh don’t go telling everybody
And overlook this supposed crime


We’ll fast forward to a few years later
And no one knows except the both of us
And I have honored your request for silence
And you’ve washed your hands clean of this


What part of our history’s reinvented and under rug swept?
What part of your memory is selective and tends to forget?
What with this distance it seems so obvious?


Just make sure you don’t tell on me especially to members of your family
We best keep this to ourselves and not tell any members of our inner posse
I wish I could tell the world ’cause you’re such a pretty thing when you’re done up properly
I might want to marry you one day if you watch that weight and keep your firm body


The song is just great, her best melody with the exception of “Thank You”, but better still is its steely grip on seduction. The man is such a rat I even doubt it here and there, no guy would say I might marry you if you keep the weight off. But the devastating “I have honored your request for silence” is beaten only by very next line.


The problem is its Alanis, “Soon I won’t flinch at your name”, she says at one point,  “You owe me nothin’ for giving the love that I give. You owe me nothin’ for caring the way that I have.”  she claims in another song and you just know somebody somewhere is gonna pay for it and big time.


It is not quite that Alanis is a liar, it is more that she is completely bizarre: the world thought it was getting a sex star and instead got a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. “You Owe Me Nothing” quoted above sounds like a goth Sarah Maclaughlin, “So Unsexy” is so unsexy it is unsexy (if you see what I mean). It is filled with doubt and it seems a not inaccurate take on both men and women’s ultra self-consciousness.


All of which makes Alanis a Costello redux for the nineties.  Alanis Morrisette (and Liz Phair for that matter)  were the female equivalents of the greatest and most disturbed male singer songwriters playing in the sexual minefields and Under Rug Swept was her masterpiece

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