Alanis Morissette sings her first Billboard hit song acoustic as an adult

John Watt

"You Oughta Know" was a pop-rock recording that climbed the charts almost explosively,
the combination of anger, sexual content, and what was seen as empowerment for women,
being a very potent brew for North American audiences at that time.

Alanis was born in Ottawa, Canada, and performed as a teenager for a popular television show.
She had two dance albums out as a result of that business.
After the show was over, she says she went to visit her parents where she had a nervous breakdown.
After getting it back together and deciding what she wanted to be as a new recording artist,
she moved to Toronto where she put an ad in the Toronto Star,
saying a singer-songwriter is looking for a song-writing partner.
If I was still living in Toronto as a player with the same entertainers agency,
I might have been one of the over 150 musicians she said she auditioned.

She wasn't happy and decided to move to L.A. where she met Glen Ballard,
a songwriter who had worked with bands like the Eagles and other top acts.
They came up with an albums worth of songs and the recording contract to put them out.

Howard Stern is saying a local D.J. broke her song and it created over-night line-ups to see her.
That's not true, even if this D.J. was playing it.
Her new career was managed right from the start, seeing her as a definite rock star in waiting.
The video for "You Oughta Know" really doesn't show her face, almost a hard rock sound.
Her second hit song really didn't show her face in the video either, teasing audiences.
Her third hit song had a video where, through the special effects of digital use,
she played three of herself driving in a car in the winter, in broad daylight.
Some people would say she gave great face. Know everybody knew.

What I like most about this modern appearance, over ten years after the song came out,
is how good she looks and how great she sounds, as a long-time vocalist and stage artist.
For sure, two acoustic guitarists aren't going to be able to recreate the original recording,
especially when the guitarist on the left is missing an A string, the reason not obvious to me.

Now, Alanis gets called a mezzo-soprano,
but anyone familiar with vocal technique can see she kept her own teenage style,
singing more from the back of her throat with her tongue at the bottom of her mouth,
what only can limit vocal abilities and volume control.
That's why she's jerking her head back to hit some notes.


John Watt

Thinking of Alanis as a survivor, keeping her youth and musical energy going, even after rock star mega-success,
means talking about Cindi Lauper isn't going off-topic here.
Sure, Cindi Lauper got to be a little blowsy, looking like she was losing it off-stage,
but here she is last year at the Kennedy Center for a function to honour Cher, looking very cute.
She's singing one of Chers' big hits, when I wish it was one of her own songs, far more musical.
I had to be paid to play "Time After Time", a slow song Cindi wrote, before I got into her music.
She always was a fun MTV video queen.

If I was going back in time I'd want to go back to high school when there were necking parties.
I'd want to be kissing Cindi Lauper right away.
Look what Cher does to her face to keep looking young.
They say she had two ribs removed to make her waist thinner.
As my mother would say, "some peoples kids" with a no-no shake of her head.

I like how the violinist sustains the last note Cindi is singing to go into a solo,
and the way Cindi looks at her I'm thinking it was her idea and they pulled it off.

I got caught up watching the video again... yeah... looking at those lips,
Cindi working the camera from all the angles, her eyes too.
When Cindi first came out Cher took her on as an opening act, what made her big.
After she had her run as a pop star, Cindi retreated from performing big time,
and eventually the songs she was writing became a new Broadway musical,
where critics said her music set a modern standard for show tunes, and could be the best.
Imagine going to the Kennedy Center and getting up there like you're doing some karaoke with a live band.
By the way, I'm not denying the digital technology that helps make her look better here,
thinner, no wrinkles, than she did when she first came out.
For a long time now, Hollywood actors go to auditions with a computer disc,
having various versions of their face on various body types, seeing what works best.

Did you know that modern Hollywood digital cameras take a six inch deep light capture,
as a photo or video, where editors can look through this six inches of light and pick what they want?
The C.I.A. is up to twelve inches.
Even New York Times editors admit they can't tell the difference between real and fake videos,
starting a panel of newspaper editors to try and figure out how to get around that.
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