Saturday, June 24, 1995

Marillion Afraid of Sunlight released

Afraid of Sunlight

Marillion


Released: June 24, 1995


Peak: -- US, 16 UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): --


Genre: neo-progressive rock


Tracks:

Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Gazpacho [7:28]
  2. Cannibal Surf Babe [5:46]
  3. Beautiful [5:13] (5/29/95, 29 UK)
  4. Afraid of Sunrise [5:02]
  5. Out of This World [7:55]
  6. Afraid of Sunlight [6:50]
  7. Beyond You [6:11]
  8. King [7:04]

Lyrics by Steve Hogarth and John Helmer; music by Marillion (Hogarth/ Kelly/ Mosley/ Rothery/ Trewavas).


Total Running Time: ??


The Players:

  • Steve Hogarth (vocals, percussion)
  • Steve Rothery (guitar)
  • Pete Trewavas (bass)
  • Mark Kelly (keyboards)
  • Ian Mosley (drums)

Rating:

3.523 out of 5.00 (average of 22 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Afraid of Sunlight was Marillion's first real progressive album since Fish had left the band. While it does not rank as high as classics like Script for a Jester's Tear or Fugazi, it still has some very strong moments.” AG "They've found their rut and seem happy to stick in it…That doesn't mean they've run out of imagination…they have the concept album, er, concept down pat.” ME

“There is a loose thread that seems to bind the album together lyrically that is subtle and grabbing.” JW “Quite intense lyrics…start from Kurt Cobain' s suicide and analyze contemporary icons and myths as Elvis Presley, John Lennon Andy Warhol, Mike Tyson, O.J. Simpson, Ayrton Senna and even Princess Diana.” FS

“The…songs…confirm the good period of Marillion creativity, in a territory at the borderline between [singer Steve Hogarth’s] pop desires and guitarist [Steve Rothery’s] more elaborated ideas. The album is quite homogeneus” FS and “there are some very beautiful melodic moments.” AG

“The continous alternation between romantic moments and aggressive ones” FS makes for “a better mix between calm and agressive melodies than on previous albums made with Steve Hogarth.” AG

“The first three tracks grab you instantly, while the rest of the album comes on slowly only to take you in and have you discovering new things every time you listen.” JWGazpacho is unnerving in its revelations” JW and “Beautiful is simply moving” JW while “Cannibal Surf Babe promises to be a hell of a lot of fun on record and in concert.” JW The song “is a tribute to the '60s (sort of). It starts off like the Beach Boys' ‘California Girls’ before turning into the nightmarish tale of a cannibal woman!” AG

”The best moments are in the second half of the album, with tracks such as Out of This World, Afraid of Sunlight, and King. As usual with Marillion, the keyboards stand out the most.” AG

Marillion, once again, have “found a new place to travel, musically, arrangement-wise and lyrically.” JW


Notes: A 2-disc reissue features non-album cuts "Icon," "Live Forever" (both B-sides for "Beautiful"), "Bass Frenzy," and "Mirages" in addition to alternate versions of "Beautiful" (aka "Second Chance"), "Beyond You," "Cannibal Surf Babe," "Out of This World," and "Afraid of Sunlight."

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 3/14/2008; last updated 8/8/2021.

Saturday, June 17, 1995

Alanis Morissette hit the charts with “You Oughta Know”

First posted 1/26/2021; updated 2/27/2021.

You Oughta Know

Alanis Morissette

Writer(s): Alanis Morissette, Glen Ballard (see lyrics here)


Released: July 6, 1995


First Charted: June 17, 1995


Peak: 13a US, 2 CB, 9 RR, 3 AR, 15 MR, 22 UK, 6 CN, 4 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.3 UK, 0.87 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 79.6 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

In her native Canada, Alanis Morissette became a teen pop star, releasing two albums which spawned eight chart hits in the early ‘90s. However, the rest of the world didn’t know who she was until her internationally-released Jagged Little Pill on Madonna’s Maverick label. Alanis teamed up with songwriter Glen Ballard, who co-wrote “You Oughta Know” and the rest of the songs on the album. Ballard said they connected instantly, noting that she was “ready to take a chance on doing something that might have no commercial application.” WK

With its “aggressive, hard rock nature” WK the song marked a transition for Alanis from her previous bubblegum pop to alternative rock. As for being noncommercial, the results were anything but. “You Oughta Know” was the first of six singles which propelled the album to more than 30 million in sales worldwide. That song included some big names who were familiar with commercial success. Benmont Tench of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers played Hammond organ and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Dave Navarro and Flea added guitar and bass, respectively. WK

The lyrics for “You Oughta Know” came from a journal entry which Alanis wrote during what she called “a very devastated time.” SF She was reluctant to sing the “scathing, explicit lyrics” WK about an ex-boyfriend because she didn’t want to hurt anybody. SF Ballard, however, encouraged her, saying “You have to do this.” SF

There was much speculation about the identity of the ex-boyfriend. Alanis has said she will never reveal who the song is about, SF but it has been widely assumed to be actor Dave Coulier, best known from TV’s Full House, who, as a thirtysomething, dated a teenage Alanis in 1992. He has “alternately admitted to and denied being the subject of the song.” WK In 1997, he told the Boston Herald that lines like “bug you in the middle of dinner” hit close to come. WK Entertainment Weekly’s David Browne praised Morissette for turning her “jealous bile into something worth hearing.” WK

“You Oughta Know” was nominated for three Grammys, winning Best Rock Song and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.


Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, June 13, 1995

Alanis Morissette released Jagged Little Pill

image from entertainment.inquirer.net

Jagged Little Pill

Alanis Morissette


Released: June 13, 1995


Peak: 112 US, 111 UK, 121 CN, 110 AU


Sales (in millions): 16.0 US, 2.7 UK, 33.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: alternative rock


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. All I Really Want [4:44] (10/28/95, 65a US, 14 MR, 59 UK, 2 CN, 40 AU)
  2. You Oughta Know [4:09] (6/17/95, 13a US, 3 AR, 1 MR, 22 UK, 6 CN, 4 AU)
  3. Perfect [3:07]
  4. Hand in My Pocket [3:41] (8/19/95, 15a US, 8 AR, 1 MR, 30 AC, 26 UK, 1 CN, 13 AU)
  5. Right Through You [2:55]
  6. Forgiven [5:00]
  7. You Learn [3:59] (2/24/96, 1a US, 24 UK, 40 AR, 7 MR, 23 AC, 24 UK, 1 CN, 20 AU, airplay: 1.0 m)
  8. Head Over Feet [4:27] (8/3/96, 3a US, 25 MR, 27 AC, 7 UK, 1 CN, 12 AU)
  9. Mary Jane [4:40]
  10. Ironic [3:49] (1/6/96, 2a US, 18 AR, 1 MR, 28 AC, 11 UK, 1 CN, 3 AU, sales: 0.5 m, airplay: 1.0 m)
  11. Not the Doctor [3:47]
  12. Wake Up [4:53]
  13. You Oughta Know (alternate take)/ Your House (unlisted tracks) [8:12]

All songs written by Glen Ballard and Alanis Morissette.


Total Running Time: 57:23

Rating:

4.193 out of 5.00 (average of 22 ratings)


Quotable: “A Nineties version of Carole King’s Tapestry: a woman using her plain soft-rock voice to sift through the emotional wreckage of her youth, with enough heart and songcraft to make countless listeners feel the earth move.” – Rolling Stone


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Alanis Morissette got her start on the children’s variety show You Can’t Do That on Television at the age of 10. In a move now seemingly replicated by every actress to ever land a show on the Disney channel, she parlayed it into an attempted career as a dance-pop singer. She released two albums in Canada, one of which was a top ten hit, but remained an unknown internationally. Then she left the Great White North, partnered with producer and songwriter Glen Ballard (Paula Abdul’s Forever Your Girl, Wilson Phillips’ self-titled debut) in L.A., and tapped her bitter diary entries of teen angst to transform from “mall-pop songstress” to “angry rocker chick.” ZS Of course, she was savvy enough to give her songs enough pop gloss to move over 30 million copies of the album worldwide and inspire “a generation of soundalikes to bare their souls on record.” PR

“According to Ballard, the connection was ‘instant’, and within 30 minutes of meeting each other they had begun experimenting with different sounds…Ballard and Morissette penned their first song together, called ‘The Bottom Line’. The turning point in their sessions was the song Perfect, which was written and recorded in 20 minutes.” WK Alanis “snarls, at the top of her formidable lungs, about egregious slights – from parents who suffocate with their expectations.” TM She “improvised the lyrics on the spot, and Ballard played guitar. The version of the song that appeared on Jagged Little Pill was the only take that the pair recorded” WK and the first song shared with “A&R and record company people.” WK

From there on, they aimed to write and record a song a day over 12-16 hour shifts. WK Ballard provided rough instrumentation and Morissette’s vocals were recorded in one or two takes each; those original demo vocals were still used when the tracks were redone in a professional studio later. WK

Maverick Records had low expectations for the record, assuming it wouldn’t sell more than 250,000 copies. WK However, “things quickly changed when a Los Angeles DJ from the influential radio station KROQ began playing You Oughta Know, the album’s first single.” WK With its “hello-it’s-me phone rage” RS Alanis “turns jealous bile into something worth hearing EW as she “unleashes her rage at a lover who dumped her for another, threatening to disrupt dinner and taunting him: ‘Everytime I scratch my nails down someone else’s back,’ she rasps, ‘I hope you feel it.’” EW The victim of that venom “became the most guessed-about antagonist since that of Carly Simon’s ‘You’re So Vain’.” WK However, it has long been suspected to be Dave Coulier of television’s Full House, whose relationship with Morissette had soured shortly before the song was recorded.” WK

Elsewhere “song such as All I Really Want and Forgiven fester with a barely suppressed rage against institutionalized hypocrisy and what she sees as the emotional dishonesty of the male species.” PR The “lyrical hints” AMG suggest “a record executive…took advantage of a young Alanis…This is such insider information that it’s hard to believe that millions of listeners not just bought it, but embraced it.” AMG

A whopping six radio releases “kept Jagged Little Pill in the top twenty on the Billboard 200 for over a year.” WK As for the biggest hit of the batch, much has been made about the song Ironic not really being about irony; in reality, “it’s just Alanis speaking her piece about the perils of being a girl in a fickle-as-fuck world, singing like an acoustic guitar.” RS

“At its core, this is the work of an ambitious but sophomoric 19-year-old, once burned by love, but still willing to open her heart a second time.” AMG She provided an “inside look into the minds and moods of young women who’ve been jilted and scorned” ZS refuting the “wisdom about how anger is not a terribly constructive emotion,” TM opting to “unflinchingly explore emotions so common, most people would be ashamed to articulate them.” AMG “Every teenage girl who owned it says, ‘she’s not annoying, damn it! She’s me!’” ZS

Alanis “isn’t a particularly good singer” AMG as she “tends to wildly oversing every other line” EW and stretch “the limits of pitch and credibility with her octave-skipping caterwauling.” AMG However, her “wounded bleats and bellowing screams” TM “feel truly wild, too unruly to have been plotted beforehand.” TM She “chews up and spits out the lyrics in a style reminiscent of Tori Amos at her most melodramatic.” PR

“This anger is articulated by a ferocious, sub-grunge sound” PR aided by some contributions on bass and guitar from the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea and Dave Navarro. Sonically, this “clearly is an attempt to embrace the ‘women in rock’ movement in alterna-rock.” AMG Alanis “aspires to the swaggering confidence of U2’s big-tent anthems” TM with “similarly broad sing-along refrains.” TM

“This combination of unsophisticated, low-fi sound and sexually explicit lyrics caught the mood of the moment and inspired a generation of soundalikes to bare their souls on record.” PR “Perhaps it was the individuality that made it appealing, since its specificity lent it genuineness.” AMG She has a “knack for bringing listeners into the center of her storm. She doesn’t merely recount assorted setbacks, she offers a minute-by-minute tour of them, sparing no detail to describe raw and often uncomfortable emotions.” TM

Her “bitter diary entries are given a pop gloss that gives them entry to the pop charts.” AMG Alanis knows “she’s selling pop songs. Not transcripts of therapy sessions.” TMJagged Little Pill is like a Nineties version of Carole King’s Tapestry: a woman using her plain soft-rock voice to sift through the emotional wreckage of her youth, with enough heart and songcraft to make countless listeners feel the earth move.” RS It was “a defining disc for her generation.” ZS

The album garnered six Grammy nominations, of which Alanis snagged Album of the Year, Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song, and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. She missed out on Best New Artist and Song of the Year. Until 2010, “she was the youngest person to receive the Album of the Year award, at age 21.” WK


Notes: In 2005, a collection of the entire album performed acousticly was released in celebration of the album’s 10th anniversary.

Resources and Related Links:

  • AMG All Music Guide review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
  • RC RobertChristgau.com
  • EW Entertainment Weekly (6/18/2007). “The New Classics: Music
  • TM Tom Moon (2008). 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. Workman Publishing Company, Inc.: New York, NY.
  • PR Paul Roland (2001). CD Guide to Pop & Rock. B.T. Batsford LTD: London. Page 171.
  • RS Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
  • TB Thunder Bay (2005). Albums: The Stories Behind 50 Years of Great Recordings. Thunder Bay Press; San Diego, CA. Page 277.
  • WK Wikipedia
  • ZS Zagat Survey (2003). Music Guide: 1,000 Top Albums of All Time. Coordinator: Pat Blashill. Music Editor: Holly George-Warren. Editors: Betsy Andrews and Randi Gollin. Zagat Survey, LLC: New York, NY. Page 166.


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 3/22/2008; last updated 9/3/2021.