Alanis Morissette debuted Jagged Little Pill 20 years ago and the singer wrote an essay on her blog commemorating the anniversary. Despite the album becoming a critical and commercial success, Morissette had to fight for its songs to get radio play at first, she remembers.
“When ‘You Oughta Know’ was first taken to radio, the consistent response was, ‘We are already playing two female artists, we don’t need another one,'” she wrote. “Female artists ‘weren’t lucrative,’ apparently. But I knew in my heart that the feminine imperative (found in male and female artists equally) was on of the highest importance.”
Morissette previously discussed this experience with EW, revealing that the other female artist radio stations were referring to at the time was Sinead O’Connor. “But that changed thankfully,” she said in our oral history of the album. “It’s still patriarchal, but then it was really patriarchal. I remember playing festivals around the world, and it was me and 27 guys. And sometimes Björk, who wouldn’t look at me.”
“There was a cultural wave swelling,” Morissette writes in her essay. “A readiness, perhaps, for people to hear about the underbelly, the true experience of being a young, sensitive, and brave person in a patriarchal world… This wave was moving through culture with or without me, and I happened to grab my glittery surfboard and rode that wave like a feisty androgyne on the back of a megalodon.”