Jagged Little Pill (Maverick/Reprise)
Rozzi: I don’t have a favorite album – I’d sooner choose a favorite family member. I could easily write about The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill – the way I memorized the words to “Ex-Factor” like I’d be quizzed on them. Or I could write about Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours – how in 7th grade I was desperate for a good friend, how “Silver Springs” became one. Purple Rain could inspire more than one essay – the way Prince’s vocal prowess woke up the singer in me; how his creative bravery made me want to be brave. But today, this hour, all I can think about is the album that taught me to speak the truth. The one I turn to when I need the strength to be myself.
I’ll admit, the first time I heard Jagged Little Pill it was the acoustic anniversary version. I was in the back of my mom’s minivan and Alanis Morissette was singing like a bell. “Mary Jane” was playing and her voice rang out – the clarity and pureness of it made me weightless. Listening to the record at thirteen, I was a woman. ‘Girly’ things weren’t particularly cool in middle school but, with Alanis, I was proud of my femininity. Anger wasn’t particularly celebrated in little girls either but, once again, Alanis showed me the beauty in it, the unavoidable humanness of it. It all happens in the first 15 seconds. The aggressive harmonica, the guitar line that refuses to settle down, the lyrics “do I stress you out?’ Her revolutionary vulnerability hit me like a car. I just fucking loved it.
My greatest goal as a songwriter is to be honest; I try my best to say what I really mean. Sometimes I’m afraid to – talking about my life so openly has repercussions. But whenever I feel myself shutting off or closing the door to myself, I think of Alanis and lyrics like ‘every time I scratch my nails down someone else’s back I hope you feel it.’ And then I keep writing. That is the ultimate gift of her music – the way it encourages more music – as well as generations of women more fearless than they were before.
Rozzi Gets Jagged: The single “Consequences” feat. Nile Rodgers is out now.