All I Really Want (Alanis Morissette)

Somehow Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill was of momentous impact for me. I actually remember the moment I heard her for the first time on the radio. I was hooked. I can’t say what it was about her - her energy or attitude.

It's not the kind of writing I was usually drawn to, but for several years her music would be my constant companion. (Alongside Nick Cave, whom I probably owe more than one cover...)

I loved every song on Jagged Little Pill ( except for Head Over Heels for some reason), and I can’t possibly pick a favourite, but I’ve always felt drawn to All I Really Want. It’s a very self-absorbed song. It’s a very agitated song. It’s a very fast moving song, like thoughts racing at 100 miles per hour. It feels like the world, or time has sped up even more since the song’s release, and silence has become even more obsolete and uncomfortable.

These days the song has a soothing quality to me. Even the thought of apathy isn’t remotely as frustrating to me anymore - after all, the word derives from the Greek word “apatheia”, which describes a kind of calm equanimity, a product of the absence of irrational or extreme emotions. An idea which would somehow have horrified me back then. The song lacks it, too, which in all likelihood made it such a good match for me.

I saw Alanis perform live in 2001 (I think), and if I had to name something I’ll always remember her performance for, it’s the sheer energy and sense of humour. I remember her running around on stage, and playing pranks on her band mates. It never bothered me that she turned into a singing self-help book - who doesn’t need one. For darker delights, there was always Nick Cave. 😂

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