Posts Tagged ‘Alanis Morissette lyrics’

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Aric Fiscus. I met Shoe when we 0a9dc1db93c99b715ac91cffe6785847were both athletic directors at our respective schools in the late 1990’s through the mid 2000’s. I thoroughly enjoy reading Shoe’s blog, mainly because we have the same sense of humor and line of thinking (I don’t know what that says about either one of us quite honestly). More often than not I read his blog and find myself saying “that’s what I think too”.

As all of you know Shoe has put out several retrospective blogs recently looking at years from the past. After reading his blog about the year 1996 I made several comments concerning his inclusion of the Alanis Morissette song “Ironic”. After about three of my comments he invited me to write a guest blog regarding my feelings about the song. I consider the invite a great honor. He did warn me that his readers expect a certain level of prose (he didn’t really say if the level was high or low). I will try my best to uphold the standard of “Shoe Untied” (whatever level that might be).

I will preface my dissection of this song by saying that of all the pet peeves I have in this world (and there are many) this song is among the top. In retrospect I feel that it not only shows a very poor understand of irony, it might have been the beginning of a Canadian-led plot to attack the higher-level thinking skills of Americans by brainwashing young adults into thinking that the situations in the lyrics actually represented ironic happenings. This was cleverly done in the lyrics by mixing actual ironic events with other events that don’t even come close to irony. This plot has resulted in, among other things, the unleashing of Common Core standards on American school children under the guise of improving those same “higher level thinking skills” that were totally lost on the parents of today’s elementary children. 

Now, on to the lyric dissection. My comments follow the lyrics, which are italicized:

An old man turned ninety-eight,

He won the lottery and died the next day.

This part of the song draws you in because this could be ironic if the old man were homeless and destitute. I will give Alanis this one by assumption…although you know what they say about assumption.

It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay . . .

Right after drawing you in she lowers her first hammer. Can someone tell me why having a fly in your wine is ironic? I think there is an old joke about having a fly in your soup by I haven’t really heard one about flies in wine.

It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late . . .

Once again, she draws it back in. It could be irony if the legal team for the inmate told him that there was no way this pardon was coming. Another point for Alanis via assumption.

Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

I’m not sure what I think at this point other than Alanis missed a golden opportunity at the height of her career in the mid-1990’s by dumbing down the knowledge of Americans on more than one facet of literature. She could have taken full control and fashioned other parts, like satire, to her liking. She missed an opportunity to be legendary.


It’s like rain on your wedding day . . .

This one probably grates on me like fingernails on a chalkboard more than any other. To add to my angst it is in the chorus so you have to hear it several times throughout the song. Rain on your wedding day could be many things. These things are dependent upon your role in the wedding and the venue of the wedding. These factors could cause rain on your wedding day to range from somewhat annoying to panic-inducing to a source of extreme anger. In all situations it would be crappy luck. However, in no way, shape, or form is it ironic. Why there was not a massive uprising of English teachers in 1996 to make certain that this song did not end up at the top of the charts I will never know. The song might have some subliminal message that relaxes the “literary radar” of English teachers. Although there have been some articles written on the lack of irony in this song it never received the massive outcry that it deserved.

It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid . . .

This is actually ironic. Enough said.

It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take . . .

Again, this situation could range from causing a person to say “Aw, shucks I should have listened” to saying “I am a buffoon” but in no way is this ironic.

Who would’ve thought, it figures . . .

Mr. Play It Safe, was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids good-bye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
 as the plane crashed down he thought
Well, isn’t this nice.”
And isn’t it ironic, l don’t you think . . .

The entire verse is dedicated to a plane crash scenario. I will side with the fact that this is also crappy luck. It could have been made ironic, however, if “Mr. Play it Safe” were John Madden-esque and he took a bus everywhere. Let’s say “Mr. Play it Safe” were offered free plane tickets and he turned them down to Go Greyhound. “Mr. Play it Safe” dies in a fiery bus crash and the flight, for which he was offered tickets, arrived at its destination without incident. That would be true irony.

Well, life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
When you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right
And life has a funny way of helping you out when
You think everything’s gone wrong and everything blows up
In your face . . .

I don’t know what the last four lines have to do with irony but . . . OK.

A traffic jam when you’re already late . . .

Just another instance of bad luck.

A no smoking sign on your cigarette break . . .

I don’t know what venue, other than a movie theater or playhouse from the 1950’s would have a no smoking sign that goes on and off. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing and it’s a cultural ignorance thing on my part.

It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife . . .

Once again, not enough information provided to be true irony. Could be tweaked though.

It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife . . .

This one could be ironic if Alanis had an actual dream about being married to this specific guy before ever meeting him. Point for Alanis on assumption.

Final tally:

12 scenarios in the lyrics

4 actual ironic scenarios (as you can tell, my scoring was liberal)

I thank Shoe for giving me access to the venue to get this, almost twenty year old vent, off of my chest. Hopefully you enjoyed the blog and I can do it again sometime.