Tomorrow, Alanis Morissette brings her signature brand of melodic angst to Club Nokia in support of her new album Havoc and Bright Lights, her eighth studio album, recorded in Hollywood.
While most Americans got our first glimpse of Morissette from her 1995 hit “You Oughta Know,” our neighbors in Canada got to watch her grow up in front of their very eyes. It was wild, it was wacky; here are the highlights, from You Can't Do That On Television to a freaking hip-hop song called Alanis: Too Hot.
You Can't Do That On Television
The iconic children's sketch comedy show You Can't Do That On Television introduced a young audience to macabre humor, and is also credited with discovering the media appeal of a young Alanis Morissette. Joining the show in 1986, she was only a cast member for a year, but Nickelodeon's frequent re-airings kept her face in regular rotation. We also find her work in the show's “rock star” episode particularly funny and ironic. Don't you think?
In a teenage music climate dominated by the Debbie Gibsons and Tiffanys of the world, Morissette re-emerged with her debut single “Too Hot.” Sounding like a young, Canadian Paula Abdul, Morissette (who then just went by “Alanis”) bobbed her big curly hair and hip-hop danced into the hearts of millions. The single was a smash, and although it wasn't released in the good ol' U.S. of A., her self-titled album went platinum in Canada. She even still occasionally performs the song today, although it's slightly reworked.
Her third single “Walk Away” featured a love interest who you might recognize — Matt LeBlanc (translation: “Matt the White”) who plays the negligent boyfriend. It's interesting to note that, before the Dave Coulier-rumors, this video was suggested as evidence by fans that Jagged Little Pill was largely about her relationship with LeBlanc.
Alanis: Too Hot
This documentary gives us a sense of Alanis' personality in these years. Apparently she was “wise beyond her years.”But it seems almost like an alternative universe compared to where her life would later take her. Can you imagine her talking about sports while shooting “Thank U”?
“An Emotion Away”
After her last album won her a Juno (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) for “Most Promising Female Vocalist,” Morissette returned one year later with Now is the Time. The album's first single “An Emotion Away” utilizes the “changing channel” narrative device (used years later by Redman and Odd Future) to allow the singer to try her hand at acting in between verses. Today, Morissette has no regrets about these early recordings, citing them as her efforts to entertain people and get her feet wet. Personally, we believe they're the types of fun tidbits you oughta know about.