Back in sixth grade, I formed my first crush. The feeling was not mutual. One-sided as it may have been, the song which enhanced that adolescent itch was Alanis Morissette’s “Head Over Feet,” from her 1996 ROY album Jagged Little Pill.
While this Canadian songstress was busy winning Grammy’s with one hand in her pocket, a new blond girl with a Southern accent and cute face strutted into school, quickly hipping me to how cool cooties could be. However, as the pale kid with a bowl cut and entire back-catalog of Wizard magazine, I never had the guts to take our minor league friendship to first-base. However, my best friend had the buzzcut and athletic rep so, of course, he ended up dating her amidst my wide eyes, one-upping his homie without even knowing it. A conundrum that he probably never even knew about to this day.
Alas, during that year of my longing behind the scenes, the fifth single from Alanis’ highy-touted debut became the soundtrack to those now frivolous memories for a few reasons. Aside from simply being everywhere during that senior year of elementary school, the now world-renown singer’s up-front and unfamiliar approach toward an unripe relationship is the obvious reason I associate it with my lost teenage love. At the time, the freshness fit for both of us.
Another reason it stuck – and one I only figured a few years ago- is how dope the beat is. On top of successfully being laced with scale-cascading, guitar melodies and harmonica grooves, the song’s contrasting live drum kit is actually packed with the open-hats, steady-hi’s and off-beat snare-stabs associated with today’s current rap-hop sound. So much so, it could and probably would suffice on a J. Cole or Freddie record right now (with slightly different instruments around it, of course). That backtrack coupled with super-glue-like, four-bar verses from the then Miss Morrissette make this song – and inevitably her music in general – well worth the minor asterisk placed next to this personal favorite every season it comes back around.
After all, I’ve been listening to Alanis for damn near 15 years. The blondie with the twang? My man dumped her as soon as we hit junior high and saw the district flood gates open.
Previously: Day 13 – A Song That’s A Guilty Pleasure