Has there ever been a follow-up album more destined for failure than Alanis Morissette's second album Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, which was released on this day in 1998? It had been three years since Morissette crashed the post-grunge party and wailed her way onto pop radio with Jagged Little Pill, a bile-filled blast of rage dressed up in big hooks and fueled by Morissette's dynamic, expressive voice. By no fault of her own, the Canadian rocker was the very definition of over-exposed, as Jagged Little Pill kept breaking singles (each one scoring more and more airplay on radio and MTV, culminating in the true cultural event that was "Ironic") and Morissette kept going back out on tour (in an amazing twist, Radiohead actually opened for her during a run through North American in the summer of 1996), and her second album was long in the works.
Of course, Morissette couldn't keep the rage up forever, and so Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie found her exploring new ways of coping (and previously unrevealed aspects of her complicated personality). The first single from Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (a mouthful of a title if there ever was one) was "Thank U," a strange piano-based track that borrowed a lot from the growing electronica trends and was mostly famous for having a video that featured a completely nude Morissette in a number of public places (she arrived to that party a decade before Kim Schifino).
It did not bode well for the rest of the album, which at 17 tracks was perceived as too long and far too complicated. Plus, there were no clear balls-to-the-wall anthems like "You Oughta Know" or "You Learn" (though people do forget that there were plenty of guitars on Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, and some of the best tracks — "Baba" and "Can't Not" among them — were as good as any mainstream rock songs in '98). But there are gems on Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, like the psychedelic album opener "Front Row," the bouncy "So Pure" and the open-letters-to-ex-boyfriends ramble "Unsent," as lovely and heartbreaking a song as you could find at the turn of the millennium. Morissette may have mellowed between Jagged Little Pill and Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, but she did not get any less intense.