In the summer of 1996 I bought my first ever record, Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, which has been in circulation in 1995. I got it from Odyssey in Park Square Makati back when it still had Bun-on-the-Run, which was selling the hugely successful and magnificent Chori Burger. I have no idea whatever happened to the food joint and to Chori Burger, but I did receive news of some sightings of new branches in obscure areas. Bun-on-the-Run also sold those extremely thin and soft pizzas which were really good, but probably not as good as the Chori Burger, which has been introduced to me through the show Five and Up. There were very few TV shows to watch during the weekends back then, Five and Up was one of the more entertaining ones. Battle of the Brains was on during Saturdays, and it was in that show that, being secluded in the province and all, I became aware of the existence of Philippine Science, Manila Science, Chiang Kai Shiek, Sakya, Uno, and all those other schools that ruled the quiz show. Philippine Science would always have some thin dark-skinned guy representative who can answer everything. Chiang Kai Shiek or Uno would always have some very white, chubby, bespectacled Chinese girl. As soon as I stepped into Diliman for college I met a lot of kids from these schools. In my first year in Diliman while walking away from the barracks where you need to sign every week for ROTC (ROTC! Bleeeech!) I happened to recognize one of the girls who I think was able to reach the quarterly finals. The question which made her team lose was: David Celdran: What is the literal meaning of the term “coup d’ etat”? Girl: (grasping at straws) er… kup di etat? she said, doing instead a literal pronunciation. On December 2009 after having eaten in Conti’s in Greenbelt my good friend Namtab Pots and I were trying to catch a bus in Ayala Avenue and I saw this girl again and I told the entire non-story to Namtab Pots. I don’t know why I remember these things.
Jagged Little Pill features tracks about relationships and such sung in the background of some fantastic melody, which made it such a huge success back then. And then Alanis disappeared from the scene, went to India for some spiritual journey or such after getting too exhausted from the JLP era, and then came back in 1998 with Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. I bought it in November 1999 in Odyssey in Alabang Town Center with Namtab Pots, Ailz, and Jerus. It was long, wordy, monotonous, introspective, repetitive, and really wordy, at one point there was so much lyrics that two different choruses were being sung at the same time. Everybody hated it, but I was fascinated at its droning, zombie-like, machinery quality and it kept me entertained for many years. It estranged many fans, which was okay, sort of like when Radiohead released OK Computer which estranged everyone who would play “Creep” whenever they get their hands on a guitar. Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie was followed up by Under Rug Swept, So-Called Chaos, and Flavors of Entanglement, none of which were every popular but were quite fun and a good listen.
This is probably the lesson of the Jagged Little Pill-Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie transition and the three years that gulfed the two: after having subjected oneself to some form of respite and spiritual journey and such you start spewing stuff that have built up over the three years and say things no one really cares about, at one point I wish I could say things at the same time with totally asynchronous melodies, as in the song The Front Row. Only I did not go to India, I never produced any hits, and none of this is very spiritual. But it sure is fucking wordy.