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you oughta know

and every time i scratch my nails down someone else's back i hope you feel it...


i want you to know that iím happy for you
i wish nothing but the best for you both
an older version of me
is she perverted like me?
would she go down on you in a theater?
does she speak eloquently
and would she have your baby?
iím sure sheíd make a really excellent mother

ícause the love that you gave that we made
wasnít able to make it enough for you to be open wide, no
and every time you speak her name
does she know how you told me youíd hold me
until you died, ítil you died
but youíre still alive

and iím here to remind you
of the mess you left when you went away
itís not fair to deny me
of the cross i bear that you gave to me
you, you, you oughta know

you seem very well, things look peaceful
iím not quite as well, i thought you should know
did you forget about me, mr. duplicity?
i hate to but you in the middle of dinner
it was a slap in the face how quickly i was replaced
and are you thinking of me when you fuck her?

ícause the love that you gave that we made
wasnít able to make it enough for you to be open wide, no
and every time you speak her name
does she know how you told me youíd hold me
until you died, ítil you died
but youíre sill alive

and iím here to remind you
of the mess you left when you went away
itís not fair to deny me
of the cross i bear that you gave to me
you, you, you oughta know

ícause the joke that you laid in the bed that was me
and iím not gonna fade
as soon as you close your eyes, and you know it
and every time i scratch my nails down someone elseís back
i hope you feel it, well can you feel it?

well iím here to remind you
of the mess you left when you went away
itís not fair to deny me
of the cross i bear that you gave to me
you, you, you oughta know

why iím here to remind you
of the mess you left when you went away
itís not fair to deny me
of the cross i bear that you gave to me
you, you, you oughta know


analysis: here it is. the song that single-handedly gave a very intelligent young women the distinction of being the first lady of rage. and admittedly, this song is very, very angry. with lines like "and every time you speak her name / does she know how you told me you'd hold me / until you died, 'til you died / but you're still alive", alanis puts an interesting spin on the promise of "'til death do us part". the very fact that this man is still alive is a problem for alanis. lyrically, the song is beautifully crafted. the beginning starts out slow, as alanis visibly tries to conceal her anger by declaring her happiness for her ex-lover, who has obviously moved on. she proceeds to viciously attack the new woman - "an older version of me / is she perverted like me? / would she go down on you in a theater? / does she speak eloquently / and would she have your baby? / i'm sure she'd make a really excellent mother". the mocking quality of the last two lines indicates alanis's fear that her ex-lover may move on and get settled permanently with his new girlfriend. if not that, the line could simply be a sarcastic attack, with alanis knowing fully well that the new lovebirds are not "committed" enough to have a child together. either way, alanis shows an intense contempt for the new pair of lovers. in the line "it's not fair to deny me / of the cross i bear that you gave to me", the cross represents the promise alanis's ex-lover made to her that he has since taken away. the song goes on to reveal that alanis is stalking her ex-lover, with the lines "i hate to bug you in the middle of dinner" and "are you thinking of me when you fuck her?". the first line conjures the image of alanis violently interrupting her ex-lover and his new girlfriend during dinner, a time supposed to be peaceful and serene. the second gives the clearest look into alanis's insecure state - she wants her presence to be in the mind of her ex-lover even when he is making love to someone else. another much-debated line is "'cause the joke that you laid in the bed that was me", which intimates that her ex-lover considers her to be no more than a "joke". the comes the first and only threat of physical violence against the ex-lover, which surprisingly, is one of the last lines of the song: "and every time i scratch my nails down someone else's back / i hope you feel it". her anger, again, is disturbing, but beautifully conveyed. after all, she could have taken the easy way out and wrote some equally-shocking line about holding a gun up to her ex-lover's face and toying with the trigger. instead, she conjures the chilling image of a set of fingernails slowly clawing down someone's skin, leaving thin streaks of blood. tastefully or otherwise, alanis shows a brilliant gift for writing, offering listeners so much, yet so little, to the imagination. 

"whenever i think of 'you oughta know', i always feel sorry for how misunderstood that song has been and i guess, indirectly or directly, how misunderstood i was in the writing of that song. i wrote 'you oughta know' to release how i felt at the time. i was in a very pathetically sad and vulnerable state and i released it. it wasn't written for the sake of revenge, i never mention who it was inspired by. it was not written for the sake of conveying a message of man-hating, i love men. i've had negative experiences with men, as i think anyone has, and a lot of men have had negative experiences with women. i had to write about how i felt at the time. i was in a position where i put my self-esteem in a man's hands and let him do with it as he would. and inevitably when you do that, you wind up getting really hurt. and that song, when i sing it, i don't think of the rage, i think of the sadness. and i know that anger is, in my estimation, a cowardly extension of sadness for me. it's a lot easier to be angry at someone than it is to tell them you're sad about something." - alanis, pay per view special

"that song has been misunderstood at times. it was written during a time when i was hurt, thankfully, by someone whom i had relied upon to give me my self-worth. when you give someone that power, the biggest favor they can do for you is to give it back. that is what this person did, although not in the kindest way, and i was broken. the song helped me honestly release how i felt without censoring myself in order to get it out of my system. it was much easier for me to be angry, than openly sad." - alanis, live interview

 

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all lyrics written by alanis morissette. unless otherwise indicated, no parts or portions of this website has been confirmed by morissette to be accurate. users not using 800x600 resolution may experience problems viewing this page.