In 1995, Alanis Morissette released her debut album "Jagged Little Pill." At first the album was a slow-burner debuting at No.117 in its first week and sold a few hundred thousand copies. A month later it was in the Top 10 and it debuted at No.1 in September two months after its debut. As the months went by though, the album picked up speed and began selling considerably well. When the first single from the album, "You Oughta Know," debuted on radios and MTV stations across the world, I think about 98% of the global population stopped dead in their tracks and stood in awe at this angst-ridden vixen whine to us about a lover who left her for someone else. The woman was scored, and out for revenge. Jagged Little Pill soon enough started to climb the charts all over the world. Produced by Glen Ballard and apparently recorded in under three weeks, the album was perfect. It was just what everyone needed at this time, and it sold by the truckload. It went on to shift a staggering 17 million copies in America alone! In the UK, it topped the charts through 1995 and 1996 for 21 weeks and sold more than 3 million copies. In Australia at the time, it became only the second album in history to sell more than 1 million copies, breaking all possible records. This pattern was repeated across Europe, Asia and the rest of the known world. Alanis Morissette was a phenomenon, and Jagged Little Pill sold almost 30 million copies worldwide to become the biggest selling album by a female in the history of music.
"Ironic" was the fourth single to be taken from Jagged Little Pill in April 1996. When it was released, Ironic instantly became Alanis' most popular song to date. The simplicity of the song and the way in which it was produced made it extremely accessible to a wide audience of teenagers. This was pushed further by the lyrics - they are extremely ironic of life on the whole, and the kind of lyrics that everyone can relate to in their lives. The ironic tendencies that irritate everyone at some point served as a reminder that we're all the same and go through the same stuff!
Ironic opens with a light guitar as Alanis quietly wails before opening the song with the first verse, "An old man turned ninety-eight. He won the lottery and died the next day. It's a black fly in your Chardonnay. It's a death row pardon two minutes too late. And isn't it ironic, don't you think?" The song is quiet and subdued at this point, before the drums kick in and the heavy rock chorus pounds its way in with some of the most famous lyrics of the past ten years, "It's like rain on your wedding day! It's a free ride when you've already paid! It's the good advice that you just didn't take! And who would've thought it figures?"
Then the song is really on its way as the second verse begins and Alanis sings, "Mr. Play it safe was afraid to fly. He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye. He waited his whole damn life to take that flight. And as the plane crashed down he though, 'Well isn't this nice!...' And isn't it ironic, don't you think?" Alanis then sings the chorus a second time with just as much gusto and force as the first time before the wonderfully melodic bridge starts up as Alanis sings, "Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you when you think everything's okay and everything's going right. And life has a funny way of helping you out when you think everything's gone wrong and everything blows up in your face." Alanis then sings the third verse as the song completely drops like it does on the first verse, "A traffic jam when you're already late. A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break. It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife. It's meeting the man of my dreams. And then meeting his beautiful wife. Huh, and isn't it ironic, don't you think? A little too ironic? Yeah I really do think!" Alanis then sings the chorus once more before singing, "Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you. Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out. Helping you out." She sings this as the guitars soften and drums lessen their impact and the song comes to a stop.
The video to Ironic was extremely popular on MTV throughout 1996. It features Alanis getting in a car, and experiencing another three Alanis' around her while she sings this song. It's like the four different sides to her personality all crammed in this crummy car, wearing really ordinary clothes and just screaming and singing, hanging out of the windows and wailing! A fantastic and original video concept that works superbly with this classic pop song.