Spiteful and seething, Alanis Morissette’s ”You Oughta Know” turns jealous bile into something worth hearing. Over a throbbing-gristle beat that grabs your collar and rips it off, the Canadian newcomer unleashes her rage at a lover who dumped her for another, threatening to disrupt dinner and taunting him: ”Everytime I scratch my nails down someone else’s back,” she rasps, ”I hope you feel it.”

The rest of Morissette’s touted U.S. debut album, Jagged Little Pill, is much harder to swallow. What sounds arresting on a single grows wearing over a full album. Producer-co-songwriter Glen Ballard’s arrangements are clunky mixtures of alternative mood music and hammy arena rock, and the 21-year-old Morissette tends to wildly oversing every other line. And what lines: In her songs, men take her for granted and mentally abuse her, and she retaliates by threatening to leave one of her exes’ names off her album credits (talk about a career-minded individual). Morissette needs to make new friends. C+

Jagged Little Pill
  • Music