#45: Sonic Youth, ‘Daydream Nation’ (1988) vs. Alanis Morissette, ‘Jagged Little Pill’ (1995)

Sonic Youth has always been a band that I wanted to love more than I actually did.   Alanis Morissette has always been an artist that I didn’t want to admit I like as much as I actually do. The obvious choice might be to go with Alanis (spoiler: I do) simply on commercial success.  Her break out record has got more mammoth hits than any other record I can think of. Jagged Little Pill is full of very listenable well written pretty-grunge gems that I must admit found new light in me. A light that my younger, more musically-snobby self had blacked out. It was just way cooler to like bands like Sonic Youth.

The cool factor for Daydream Nation remains. It’s the critical darling of the late-eighties punk scene.  The double album juggernaut is a definitive noise wonderland. There is no doubt that Daydream Nation rocks more than Jagged Little Pill.  Sonic Youth expertly meanders through a valley of distorted riffs and twisted journeys in sound. Its brand of weirdly tuned hard-core punk and sarcastic hatred towards conformity is a very palatable “fuck you!” to the norm.

Jagged Little Pill is the norm. Alanis dialed right into the sound of the times with this one.  I might have been a late to the game on fully ingesting the album, but, the masses weren’t. They gobbled it up right away.  On Jagged Little Pill, Alanis elevates 90s rock song-writing with empathetic relatability. Mixing personal reflections with astute life observations, she crafts catchy universal truth bombs.

Daydream Nation may be way cooler, but Jagged Little Pill is way way more popular. I am going to give this one to the 90s post-grunge-rock queen.  It was just that huge, and it is just that good.


WINNER: Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill (1 point)


80s: 4

90s: 2

80s: 4
90s: 2

Next week’s battle  –  #44: Bob Dylan, Oh Mercy (1989) vs. Fugees, The Score (1996)

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