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Alanis Morissette Songs, Ranked: Her Top 10 Songs ‘You Oughta Know’

Discover how her most criticized song is actually one of her most popular

Alanis Morissette rocked the music scene when she dropped her massive hit of an album, Jagged Little Pill, in 1995. The album, which features quite a few angry tracks, made her an icon of female rage. Being her third studio recording, Morissette was already integrated into the industry, but it wasn’t until this disc that her career skyrocketed, making for some of the best Alanis Morissette songs ever.

The seven-time Grammy-winning artist cleaned up at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards, having been nominated for six awards and taking home four — all for Jagged Little Pill. Morissette snagged Album of the Year, Best Female Rock Performance, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Album. Not to mention, she won Best Long Form Music Video for “Jagged Little Pill-Live” in 1998.

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Woman performing
Alanis Morissette (1996) Mick Hutson / Contributor

Jagged Little Pill became one of the best-selling albums of all time, with 16 million copies sold in the US and over 33 million copies sold worldwide. In 2018, a Broadway musical inspired by the album of the same name arrived, going on to win both a Grammy and Tony award.

Morissette shared in a published essay, “There was a cultural wave swelling … the true experience of being a young, sensitive, and brave person in a patriarchal world … This wave was moving through culture with or without me, and I happened to grab my glittery surfboard and rode that wave like a feisty androgyne on the back of a megalodon.”

But aside from this best-selling, award-winning album, Morissette has had dozens of other hits over the years. Check out these Alanis Morissette songs that “You Oughta Know.”

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10. ‘Thank U’ (1998): Alanis Morissette songs

After the major release of Jagged Little Pills and multiple Grammy wins, Morissette took a break. It wasn’t until 1998 that the singer came back with another album, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. “Thank U” was the first single to be released from this album and the lyrics explore just how grateful she was for a break after her massive success.

Morissette shared about writing the single after its release. “Basically, I had never stopped in my whole life, hadn’t taken a long breath,” she shared. “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.”

“Thank U” peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and remained there for 11 weeks.

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9. ‘Hands Clean’ (2002)

The lead single from the 2002 Under Rug Swept, “Hands Clean” might have been one of the most misinterpreted songs of Morissette’s career: Managers and critics alike believed the song was about a relationship between a young woman and older man. However, in 2020 Morissette revealed to Bustle, “[It] was a pretty harrowing song to write — it’s basically a dialogue between me and this person who was in this position of power throughout my teen years and taking advantage of it. It was sort of before #MeToo, and I think a lot of people missed the story. People enjoyed ‘Hands Clean,’ but there was no follow up on what the song was about.”

The haunting lyrics depict a dark story, though fans have interpreted the track in more ways than one. Despite the confusion over what the lyrics mean, Morissette shared that it doesn’t bother her. “I’m always charmed by how people interpret it, because it’s no longer about me once they’re listening.”

The tune peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it stayed for 20 weeks.

8. ‘Underneath’ (2008): Alanis Morissette songs

This song, which was released on her 2008 album Flavors of Entanglement, details the loss of a relationship with someone you are supposed to build a life with. The track, along with many others on the album, are supposedly inspired by her breakup with actor Ryan Reynolds. The music video also details a girl dealing with her inner struggles and trying to compensate for them by doing good in the world.

7. ’21 Things I Want in a Lover’ (2002)

The hard rock song “21 Things I Want in a Lover,” lists out the qualities she would prefer to have in a potential partner. The meaning is rather straightforward on this one, but the music behind the lyrics made the tune a hit. Of course, 21 things seem like a rather short list of qualities, but Morissette explained that. When asked whether she has added more to that list, she shared, “Oh yeah! I have, like, 673 things. I wrote a new list the other day. It has to be updated after every guy.”

6. Reasons I Drink’ (2020): Alanis Morissette songs

Despite the title, this song is not only about an alcohol addiction. Morissette details multiple types of addictions in the song, including to work and good. These are heard in the lyrics, “I have been working since I can remember, Since I was single digits.”

Morissette has publicly discussed her own addictions, especially after writing this song. “I’m such an addict… Work addiction, love addiction and food addiction,” she explained. The singer shared that writing her music is therapy for things she lives through. “Songwriting is an exercise in letting the unconscious out,” she says. “I live my whole life, then I take 10 minutes to write the story of it.

5. ‘You Learn’ (1995)

As one of the singles off of Jagged Little Pill, “You Learn” is a rather straightforward piece. The tune shares the message that with anything you do in life — love, lose, cry — you always learn from your experiences. Lines in the song like “I recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone,” conveys that message.

“You Learn” became Morissette’s third single to reach the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, coming in at number 6. The track remained on the charts for a lengthy 30 weeks.

4. ‘Uninvited’ (1998): Alanis Morissette songs

This hauntingly beautiful song was released as the lead single on the soundtrack for the 1999 film City of Angels, starring Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage. The track also features an impressive rock solo which allowed it to shoot to number one on the Billboard Top 40 Mainstream Chart.

Morissette’s voice, combined with the rock elements, earned the musician not one, but two Grammy awards: Best Rock song and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. The host of the 40th Annual awards, Rosie O’Donnell, introduced Morissette’s performance by saying, “Some of us take our broken, obsessive relationships to therapy, she’s taken hers to number one.”

3. “Hand in My Pocket” (1995)

Morissette has shared multiple times that many of her songs were written in minutes, but “Hand in My Pocket” was a different writing experience. “Those came from journals I had,” she shared. Interestingly, the single that listeners hear on the album is the demo version. “I had not played the harmonica before that,” she said. “I had not played almost anything, and Glen [Ballard] would just hand things to me to try.”

Jagged Little Pill features quite a few amazing tracks and “Hand in My Pocket” is no exception. The single charted at number 5, not unlike many of her other singles from the record.

2. ‘You Oughta Know’ (1995): Alanis Morissette songs

“You Oughta Know” is an iconic single from Morissette’s third album and the story behind it is even more iconic. While the singer never shared who the inspiration was for the hit, fans have speculated it is about her past relationship with Full House actor Dave Coulier. In fact, even Coulier is convinced the song is about him.

When hearing the track for the first time, Coulier recalled thinking, “Wow, this girl can sing,” adding “I was listening to the lyrics going, ‘Ooh, oh no! Oh, I can’t be this guy.'” Afterwards, the actor shared that he bought a copy of the record and listened to the entire thing in one sitting. When he asked Morissette whether it was truly about him, she explained that it could really be about anyone.

Whether the song is about Coulier or not, fans have enjoyed it for nearly 30 years. “You Oughta Know,” which features Flea and Dave Navarro on bass and guitar, respectively, snagged two Grammy wins — Best Rock Song and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. It also charted at number 6 on the Hot 100 chart, where it remained for 30 weeks.

1. ‘Ironic’ (1995)

Perhaps one of her best known tracks off of Jagged Little Pill — and of all time — is “Ironic.” Though it did not earn a Grammy like a few of her other hits, the “Ironic” lyrics have a way of sticking with audiences. Charting at number 4 on the Hot 100, “Ironic” had a spot for 32 weeks.

Despite its massive success, fans and critics love to point out that “Ironic” isn’t actually ironic. Most of the lyrics, like “It’s like rain on your wedding day,” are coincidences or misfortunes. No matter, the single is still one of the singer’s most popular tracks. Now that is ironic.

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