Cover art for U.S. and Canadian editions of the 1996 single release
|Single by Alanis Morissette|
|from the album Jagged Little Pill|
|Released||July 9, 1996|
|Genre||Pop rock, alternative rock|
|Writer(s)||Alanis Morissette, Glen Ballard|
|Alanis Morissette singles chronology|
"You Learn" is a song by Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette for her third studio album, Jagged Little Pill (1996). It was written by Morissette and Glen Ballard, who also produced the song and the rest of the studio album. Maverick and Warner Bros. Records released the song as the album's fifth single. Musically, "You Learn" is a rock-influenced song, that incorporates elements of alternative rock and contemporary pop music. The song speaks of the importance of poor decision making in life by explaining that these decisions can teach valuable lessons.
The song received generally positive reviews from most music critics, many highlighting the song as an album standout. Many also contributed towards the personal lyrical content that was included in the song. The song was a commercial success globally, only charting in North America and the Oceanic regions. A music video was shot for the single, showing Morissette walking through the streets, which could picture daily things that Morissette regrets and makes up for it, similar to the theme of the song's lyrical content.
In 1993 after leaving MCA Records Canada, Morissette moved from her home town of Ottawa to Toronto. Living alone for the first time in her life, she met with a bevy of songwriters, but she was frustrated with the results. A visit to Nashville a few months later also proved fruitless. Morissette began making trips to Los Angeles and working with as many musicians as possible, in the hopes of meeting a collaborator. During this time, she met producer and songwriter Glen Ballard. According to Ballard, the connection was "instant", and within 30 minutes of meeting each other they had begun experimenting with different sounds in Ballard's home studio in San Fernando Valley, California.
During the time of making the album and "You Learn", Morissette later revealed that during her stay in Los Angeles, she was robbed on a deserted street by a man with a gun. After the robbery, Morissette developed an intense and general angst and suffered daily panic attacks. She was hospitalized and attended psychotherapy sessions, but it didn't improve her emotional status. As Morissette later revealed in interviews, she focused all her inner problems on the soul-baring lyrics of the album for her own health. According to Morissette, Ballard was the first collaborator who encouraged her to express her emotions.
After the release of the parent album Jagged Little Pill, the album did not instantly become a success and was limited. To promote it, "You Learn" was chosen as the fourth single on the studio album. Because the CD single includes a live version of "You Oughta Know" from the 1996 Grammy Awards as an A-side, Billboard credited the chart position to "You Learn"/"You Oughta Know". An acoustic version of the song from Morissette's live album Alanis Unplugged (1999) was released as a single in some countries in 2000. Another acoustic version was recorded for the album Jagged Little Pill Acoustic (2005).
"You Learn" received positive reviews from music critics, with many finding the lyrics of the song to be positive. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic highlighted "You Learn" as an album standout, but rated the song separately two-and-a-half out of five stars. John Murphy from MusicOMH commented: "'You Oughta Know' and 'You Learn' have a lightness of touch that nicely balance the darkness of the subject matter.'" Joanna Lopez from Yahoo! Music highlighted the song as an album standout declaring "[You Learn] is another great song about the experiences you learn in life. You live. You learn, but don't stop trying. I love this song. It is my mantra." A reviewer from the publication PopStasche gave the song a very favorable remark, stating "After “Right Through You” and “Forgiven” display the vocal talent at hand, we’re graced with the wonder of “You Learn.” It provides a break from the fiery frustration yet still proves to have soul through its repetition and humility. There it goes again with its iconic beauty and all."
A reviewer from the CultureFusion publication also highlighted the song, saying "It highlights the album fairly well, creating a mood of “pissed but positive.” I guess it could be more “devil may care” but that’s not the point. It’s another great track and was well worth the single status. Glad its still popular!"
"You Learn" was a huge success worldwide. The song was her third consecutive number one single in Canada off the album and peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100, charting high from strong airplay off the back of "Ironic". It managed to peak at number one on the U.S. Pop Songs chart and number seven on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks chart.
The song had debuted at number twenty-four on the UK Singles Chart, but had descended the charts finishing at number seventy-three then falling out. The song debuted at number thirty-two on the Australian Singles Chart. The song later peaked at number twenty after five weeks there, and stayed in the charts for twelve weeks in total. The song debuted at number thirteen on the New Zealand Singles Chart.
There are two music videos produced for the single. The first video was the original music video, which was directed by Liz Friedlander. The song features Morissette doing backflips, backbend kickovers. The song features Morissette with dreadlocks, featuring scenes with her throwing pies at her friends, randomly kissing a man on the street, boxing in a boxing ring and running through a road without any notice. It was shot on February 11, 1996 in New York's meat packing district. Filming took 23 hours in 10° weather. The version was released worldwide, online and televised.
The second music video was the music video featuring Morissette with her band live on a live performance. Some included her performing from the MTV Unplugged video. The live version was used instead of the album version.
Live performances and other versions
"You Learn" was performed at her worldwide tour Jagged Little Pill Tour. It was performed at her Junkie Tour and the Australian leg as well. It was performed at her Under Rug Swept tour and her Flavors of Entanglement Tour. Another acoustic version was featured for the single on her 2005 Jagged Little Pill Acoustic album. An instrumental version also leaked online.
Because the CD single includes a live version of "You Oughta Know" from the 1996 Grammy Awards as an A-side, Billboard credited the chart position to "You Learn"/"You Oughta Know". An acoustic version of the song from Morissette's live album Alanis Unplugged (1999) was released as a single in some countries in 2000. Another acoustic version was recorded for the album Jagged Little Pill Acoustic (2005).
- American country pop singer Taylor Swift covered the song as part of a medley performed during her Speak Now World Tour in Canada.
- In 2015, popular TV series Glee covered the song as a mash-up with Carole King's "You've Got a Friend" in the third episode of their sixth and final season, "Jagged Little Tapestry".
- U.S. CD single
- MTV Unplugged CD
- "You Learn"
- "Thank U (MTV Unplugged) [Previously Unreleased]" – 4:35
- CD single
- "You Learn" (album version) – 4:00
- "Your House" (live in Tokyo) – 3:05
- "Wake Up" (Modern Rock live) – 5:07
- "Hand in My Pocket" – 3:38
|Canadian Singles Chart (RPM)||1|
|Canadian Alternative 30 (RPM)||2|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||13|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||24|
|US Billboard Hot 100||6|
|US Billboard Mainstream Top 40||1|
|US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks||7|
|US Billboard Adult Top 40 Tracks||3|
|US Billboard Adult Contemporary||23|
- Video on YouTube
- "Australian-charts.com – Alanis Morissette – You Learn". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 15 Sep 2010.
- "Rock/Alternative - Volume 63, No. 23, July 22, 1996". RPM. Retrieved 2011-03-07.
- "Charts.org.nz – Alanis Morissette – You Learn". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 15 Sep 2010.
- "Archive Chart: 1996-02-24" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 15 Sep 10.