U.S. and Canadian cover art
|Single by Alanis Morissette|
|from the album Jagged Little Pill|
|Released||July 9, 1996|
|Recorded||June 1994–April 1995|
|Songwriter(s)||Alanis Morissette, Glen Ballard|
|Alanis Morissette singles chronology|
"You Learn" is a song by Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette from her third studio album, Jagged Little Pill (1995). It was written by Morissette and Glen Ballard, who also produced the entire album. Maverick and Warner Bros. Records released the song as the album's fifth single. Musically, the song speaks of the importance of poor decision making in life by explaining that these decisions can teach valuable lessons. The album title is taken from the line "Swallow it down (what a jagged little pill)".
The song received generally positive reviews from most music critics, many highlighting the song as an album standout. 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). The title of the parent album, "Jagged Little Pill", comes from a line in the first verse: "Swallow it down, like a jagged little pill."
"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.'" 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 it's 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 video starts with Morissette, on dreadlocks, handstanding on her apartment. She puts on her white jacket, escapes the room through the fire escape and carelessly crosses the street, causing a huge crash involving multiple cars, erupting a riot in the process. Morissette ignores the riot, even walks on top of the cars that get in her way. After passing by a fire truck, Morissette arrives at an indoor basketball arena on a horse where she, now in a red jacket, successfully throws a ball passed to her to the ring. Morissette then exits the arena to the street where she does backflips and backbend kickovers through it. By the time she finishes, she's worn a grey jacket now. She randomly kisses a man on the same street, and then runs to an unfinished bridge, this time wearing a green jacket. She jumps from the ledge and lands wearing a blue jacket, and soon engages in a pie fight with a group of people, including her touring drummer Taylor Hawkins. Suddenly Morissette emerges to a boxing ring, with a black jacket and boxing gloves, faces off a woman in complete boxing gear. The woman punches her in the face, making Morissette falls to the ground. Morissette exits the ring, still on her black jacket, to the exit in the distance as the video ends. The video 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. It features the Original World Trade Center's Twin Towers in a scene where Morissette did tumbling.
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).
The Bacon Brothers covered "You Learn" on their 2014 release, 36 Cents.
In 2015 was featured in an episode of American television series, Glee, called "Jagged Little Tapestry", covered by Naya Rivera, Mark Salling, Chris Colfer, Jenna Ushkowitz, Lea Michelle and Dianna Agron.
U.S. CD single
MTV Unplugged CD
- "You Learn"
- "Thank U (MTV Unplugged) [Previously Unreleased]" – 4:35
- "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
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Alanis Morissette". AllMusic.
- Murphy, John (14 November 2005). "Alanis Morissette – The Collection: Album Reviews". MusicOMH. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- "Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill - Old 'stache review". Pop 'stache.
- "Dispatches from Chaos: Sean M Hebner's Review of "Jagged Little Pill." - Culture Fusion Reviews". Culture Fusion Reviews.
- Video on YouTube
- "Australian-charts.com – Alanis Morissette – You Learn". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 15 Sep 2010.
- "Top RPM Singles: Issue 3020." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 9665." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- "Top RPM Rock/Alternative Tracks: Issue 3040." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- "Íslenski Listinn Nr. 163: Vikuna 30.3. - 5.4. '96" (PDF). Dagblaðið Vísir. 30 March 1996. p. 52. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
- "Charts.nz – Alanis Morissette – You Learn". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 15 Sep 2010.
- "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 Sep 10.
- "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 Sep 10.
- "Alanis Morissette Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- "Alanis Morissette Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- "Alanis Morissette Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- "Alanis Morissette Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- "Alanis Morissette Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- "Alanis Morissette Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- "Alanis Morissette Chart History (Radio Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- "Alanis Morissette Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- "RPM Year End Top 100 Tracks". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- "RPM Year End Top 100 Adult Contemporary Tracks". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- "RPM Year End Alternative Top 50". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- "1996: The Year In Music". Billboard. Nielsen Company. 108 (52): 76. December 28, 1996. ISSN 0006-2510.