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Jagged Little Pill—recorded 30 years ago and released in 1995, when Morissette was 21—sold 33 million copies (making it the biggest debut of a female artist), won the Ottawa-born songwriter seven Grammys, formed the basis of a Tony-winning musical, and provided the soundtrack to countless breakups. This spring, Morissette, now 49, is embarking on a North American tour that’s bound to be a multigenerational outlet for collective female rage.

Melt it down

Canadians of a certain age will no doubt remember Morissette’s dancey debut tune, “Too Hot,” which hit the airwaves in 1991. (Always too hot/never too cold/You make your best shot/Too hot to hold.) At the time, she was a 17-year-old shoulder-padded former child star known simply as Alanis. The song was a hit, but dance-pop diva wasn’t exactly Morissette’s truth. So she disappeared, leaned into her angst and re-emerged four years later as a grunge goddess with a record that defined a generation.

That simply was good enough

Morissette recorded “You Oughta Know”—arguably her most enduring hit and the lead single off Jagged Little Pill—in a single late-night take at a Hollywood studio, with a bare-bones crew. “It was 11 o’clock at night. She sang it once. We were exhausted. That was it,” says her co-writer, Glen Ballard. “Everybody wants to fix their shit. She never did.” The track’s—the entire album’s—rawness is a big part of what made it such a staggering hit.

Don’t scan the credits for your name

Listen: Fans know that Mr. Duplicity himself is Dave Coulier, a.k.a. Uncle Joey from Full House, who dated Morissette for two years when, it should be noted, she was 18 and he was 33. But with Carly Simon–esque restraint, Morissette has never confirmed the subject of “You Oughta Know” (or “Unsent” or any other hit). “I’ve never talked about who my songs were about, and I won’t,” she has said, “because...they’re written for the sake of personal expression.” The lesson? In this era of hyper-confessionalism, maybe just don’t. Leave something to the imagination.

I’m here to remind you

As the edict goes, you have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can help others. Morissette knows she has a hard time doing that, however, and so she’s made it part of her team’s job to call her out on self-care slackage. “I render myself accountable by asking people who are my professional partners, as part of their job descriptions, to require me to be accountable for my well-being,” she has said. “Because I can’t be trusted.”

You live, you learn

For three decades, Morissette has heard every smarmy dig imaginable about her blockbuster hit “Ironic”—which, as every English lit major loves to point out, doesn’t include any actual examples of irony. The song’s Wikipedia page even has a long section entitled “Linguistic dispute.” Does it mortify Morissette to this day? Yup. “If I knew more than 10 people were gonna hear this, I would’ve been a stickler instead of being shamed publicly, planetarily, for 20 years,” she has said. But remember: The usage faux-pas didn’t dampen fans’ love for the song. She wrote it when she was just 20. And she originally didn’t even want to include it on Jagged Little Pill. Now that’s ironic...or is it?

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