If there’s anyone out there that’s backing the 90’s grunge revival that’s happening right now, it’s me. I wear black chokers and mother an ever-growing collection of beanies, maybe because I was too young and innocent to fully appreciate it when it was actually happening. Nevertheless, I am so relieved that it’s taking a second wind in today’s hipster society.
Today we celebrate the queen of angst and the 90s grunge, Alanis Morissette, and her Grammy wins for the angriest album out there, Jagged Little Pill. This time of the year in 1996, Morissete took home a multitude of Grammys, including Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Rock Album, and Album of the Year. Not only were these wins monumental for the male dominated alternative rock scene at the time, but she also opened the door for many more female rock and grunge artists to take the lead including Avril Lavigne and Pink.
Alanis was born in Ottawa, Canada in 1974, where she recorded her first demo in 1985. About ten years and two unsuccessful albums and later, even though the album wasn’t supposed to get much press, a popular rock station in Los Angeles started playing her first single from Jagged Little Pill, “You Oughta Know,” and her career finally began to take off. Alanis’s signature voice and overall angst that leaked into her tracks gained popularity fast. Other songs from the album, like her most popular “Ironic” continued full steam ahead and was even nominated at the Grammys a year later for Record of the Year.
Nowadays, a lot of people out there recognize her singles from Jagged Little Pill and she could be seen as a 90’s one hit wonder. You could say she’s not really a household name in my generation. However, as a female artist her success was extremely influential to the music industry, especially the alternative rock scene. Jagged Little Pill was the best-selling international debut album by a female artist; more than 16 million copies sold in the U.S. and 33 million copies worldwide, which made it the third biggest selling album by a female artist.
Her success inspired many women to stop hiding in the places where they played their angsty grunge music, and actually see their music careers as something possible and almost tangible. So, here’s to Alanis for opening the first few doors and making it possible again, and to that, I’ll say rock on Miss Morissette.