Why Alanis Morissette Never Wanted to Release 'Ironic'

'I wasn't that precious about it... perhaps I should have been... Whoops!'

July 13, 2020

The full weight of singer Alanis Morissette’s comeback has been sidelined by the current health crisis, but 25 years after the release of her iconic Jagged Little Pill album she’s celebrating new music and looking back on the songs that made her a household name.

In the latest episode of Rolling Stone’s Music Now, Alanis Morissette dives into details about her new album, Such Pretty Forks in the Road, as well as the fame and shame that came with Jagged Little Pill. In a moment of self-reflection, she jokes about being called out for the not-so-ironic lyrics like a "black fly in your Chardonnay," or a "free ride when you’ve already paid" in her hit song "Ironic."

"I didn't even want it on the record," Alanis explains to Rolling Stone. "I remember a lot of people going, 'please please, please.' So, I said 'OK.' That was one of the first songs we wrote, almost like a demo to get our whistles wet. But people wound up really liking the melody, and I wasn't that precious about it. And I came to realize later that perhaps I should have been," she laughs. "Whoops!"

Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill was turned into a full-on musical experience on Broadway just before the COVID-19 pandemic struck and has since been postponed indefinitely. That’s unfortunate for fans who hoped to see the show, and the gentile ribbing the cast gives each other during the "Ironic" part of the performance. In the production, the shame takes center stage as the characters openly mock the song with lines like, "that’s not irony," or "that’s just, like, sh****."

Written by Diablo Cody, the production Morissette says, "nailed it" in that scene and the result, she hoped, would shield her from further pokes and jabs, "until the next onslaught of shaming," of course.

We’ll just settle for a re-opening. Leave the shame for another day.

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