I don’t know about anyone else, but when I was a teenager, I felt a little lost. I wanted and needed someone who spoke to me and for me. I found that someone in Alanis Morissette and her breakthrough album, Jagged Little Pill. Produced by and co-written with Glen Ballard, it became an instant classic the moment it was released.
Yesterday was Jagged Little Pill‘s 25th anniversary.
As an artist, Alanis gave her listeners the permission and room to feel. Some of the lyrics are not pretty or easy to hear. They are difficult, challenging, and speak of the hard truths in life that we all have to face at some point. As a woman in the music business, she faced the same prejudices that female artists still face today. In writing how she saw the world, she became a trailblazer, an icon, and a hero for women.
I have loved this album for the last 25 years and I hope to love it for another 25 years.
Human beings make mistakes. It is a part of life, as much as we may hate it.
One of the harder aspects of depression (at least from my perspective) is perfectionism. In a nutshell, it is the ultimate desire to be perfect and the toll it takes to reach a goal that is forever unreachable. In my case (and I suspect in many others who suffer from mental illness), the unrealistic expectations create a negative emotional spiral, regardless of whether a mistake has actually happened.
It feels like failure is not an option and will never be an option. The only way to be is perfect, knowing full well that perfection is impossible. When a mistake is imagined, it could easily trigger an anxiety attack. When a mistake is real, it feels nothing short of life shattering. It’s as if we are unworthy of all the good things that life offers, unless we are perfect.
Perfect is one of the songs on Alanis Morissette’s ground breaking 1995 album, Jagged Little Pill. I can’t think of a better way to sum up the disease that is perfectionism.
Family is complicated. Life is complicated. Bring those together and you have a complicated reality.
The new musical, Jagged Little Pill (based on the groundbreaking 1995 album by Alanis Morissette) takes place in suburban Connecticut. The Healy family appears to be picture perfect. Steve Healy (Sean Allan Krill) works long hours in the city, creating an emotional rift between himself and his family. His wife, Mary Jane (Elizabeth Stanley) does everything she can to be the perfect wife and mother. But an off stage car accident and a prescription for post surgery pain killers has led Mary Jane down the road to addiction.
Their son, Nick (Derek Klena) is everything a parent would wish for in a teenage son. His collegiate path seems to be headed straight to the Ivy Leagues, but Derek is not sure if this is the best option for him. Adopted daughter Frankie (Celia Rose Gooding) is unsure about her place in her mostly White community. Focused on social justice and getting into a relationship with her best friend Jo (Lauren Patten) is only the beginning of her struggles.
With a book written by Diablo Cody, Jagged Little Pill is more than the standard jukebox musical. The narrative includes thorny issues such as addiction, sexual assault, finding your sexuality, growing up, etc. But instead of being written as if standing on a soapbox, Cody naturally integrated the issues into a story of a family going through a rough patch.
Though the impression is that one needs to be a fan of Morissette and her music to enjoy the show, that is not necessarily true. It helps to know the songs, but not knowing them is not a deterrent for seeing and enjoying the show. I don’t see Broadway musicals very often, but this (for me at least) is one for the books.
I will warn that some long time Morissette fans might be a little put off by change of some lyrics. The changes were only made to match the narrative and are still the same songs that we have known and loved for 25 years.
I absolutely reccomend it.
Jagged Little Pill is playing at the Broadhurst Theater in New York City. Check the website for showtimes and ticket prices.
It’s no secret that the world has changed. Especially for women. Generations of hard work and perseverance have opened doors and created cracks in the glass ceiling that will only grow larger.
But for every accomplishment that is mind-blowing, we are reminded that we still have not achieved true equality.
Last week was the MTV VMAs. Joining Beyonce and Jay Z was their four-year old daughter, Blue Ivy.
Some women felt compelled to use social media to bash this child for not being “pretty enough”.
Are they kidding? This child is adorable. What is sad is that these comments reveal not only the dark side of the internet, but also the fact that women still feel the need to judge their fellow female and verbally mock her for her physical appearance. To attack another adult is one thing, but to attack a child? That is beyond low.
In her 2002 song, Sister Blister, singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette called out women who feel compelled to act like these women did.
And then we get to Brock Turner. He should have spent the next six years in jail as was recommended by the prosecutor during his trial. He served a paltry three months. His early release sends two very scary messages: class and race privileges still exist in this country and women are still considered to be property to be used among other things for the sexual pleasure of men. While Brock Turner may be able to return to his life as if the rape never happened, the woman he raped will never be able to escape her past.