November 1998: Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie

I generally feel younger than I am, but sometimes it hits me that I’ve been around for almost three decades already and I feel bad for all the things I didn’t achieve yet, even though mostly I’m not sure what things in particular they are. Maybe you can relate.

At any rate, one of the things that just made me realize that I’m not getting any younger is finding out that the wonderful Alanis Morissette album Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie was released 11 (!) years ago, in November 1998. I remember when I first got it, I was a bit suspicious about it, after having become so acquainted with the songs on Jagged Little Pill (I agree with this reviewer on how good that album was). Nevertheless, Junkie grew on me pretty quickly. My favorite songs on it are the very plugged-in ones (like So Pure and Would Not Come), and most of all I like those that also have a haunting quality to them and narrative lyrics (The Couch and I Was Hoping). The lyrics on the album are deep and Alanis doesn’t usually bother to make them rhyme, which I find rather refreshing.

The Couch and I Was Hoping belong together in my personal interpretation of the album, and I believe the first-person narrator in The Couch and the second-person character in I Was Hoping are very similar, if not the same person. For some reason, I imagine The Couch to be fictitious and I Was Hoping to be taken from Alanis Morissette’s life, but I have no other basis for this assumption than my rampant imagination.

Also in my imagination, the guy she meets up with is older than her. He’s in a troubled marriage (or claims to be) and she likes him, even though it’s also obvious that they are very different people with vastly different beliefs. So she was hoping that they’d be good for each other, maybe get together, but now she realizes it’s pretty hopeless.

The part I remember and like most of the song is this:

“It’s a cycle, really. You think I’m withdrawing and guilt tripping you, I think you’re insensitive and I don’t feel heard. And I said, ‘Do you believe we are fundamentally judgmental? Fundamentally evil?’ And you said ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘I don’t believe in revenge, in right or wrong, good or bad.’ You said: ‘Well, what about that man that I saw handcuffed in the emergency room, bleeding after beating his kid, and she threw a shoe at his head. I think what he did was wrong and I would’ve had a hard time feeling compassion for him.’ I had to watch my tone for fear of having you feel judged.”

Personally, I also believe we are fundamentally judgemental, but I don’t think we’re fundamentally evil. I don’t believe in revenge either, although I sometimes fantasize about it on the spur of the moment. Interesting in this particular song, however, is not only the subject matter, but also that their positions clash the way they do.

Well, I still love the album and the song 11 years after it was released, and so I will let this little article stand as a tribute to one of my favorite albums, and also as a tribute to my advancing age.

One Reply to “November 1998: Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie”

  1. Good analysis of the song. I found your blog while I was searching for something on a related topic.

    Since it seems relevant here, I also wanted to give a plug for a site Ive been working on that helps people share songs with their friends. Its free, easy and there’s no account signup. Login with Facebook. Hope you like it!

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