She oughta know better.
On her forthcoming album Havoc and Bright Lights, Alanis Morissette addresses the blind pursuit of fame. In an interview last week with The Globe and Mail, the supposed former infatuation junkie spoke about the song Celebrity, saying that it was all about stardom being dangled as something that would yield connection, friendship and high self-esteem.
“But I found the opposite to be true,” said the multiple Grammy winner.
“It actually ended up amplifying what was already there. So if there’s self-sabotage, self-annihilation or self-hatred, fame is only going to put that on steroids.”
Okay, fine. But the song isn’t just about her own relationship with notoriety.
“Yes, there is a particular person that I had in mind,” Morissette admitted.
Really? Do tell. “No, I will never name that person,” she said, mischievously, “for the sake of respect.”
Sung in the first-person singular, Celebrity involves someone who “tasted stardom since before I breathed; my well-known hungry daddy modelled it for me.”
Of course, with her venomous hit single You Oughta Know from 1995, Morissette has been down this road before. Though the Full House actor Dave Coulier has publicly claimed to be the muse behind that scathing song, Morissette herself has refused to identify the ditty’s “Mr. Duplicity.”
Much as the case with Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain, people have their ideas about the target of You Oughta Know.
The pop-culture conundrum even made its way into an episode of the HBO comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm, complete with an appearance by Morissette, who whispers the song’s meaning to Larry David.
It’s a cheeky game played by the singer, who can be staggeringly candid at times and respectfully reticent too. If she has one hand in her pocket, the other one is over her mouth.
So, we can guess all we want as to the identity of Celebrity’s “tattooed sexy dancing monkey,” but what it all comes down to is that we haven’t got Morissette all figured out just yet.