Alanis lyric censored in U.S.
Alanis Morissette’s Canadian record label has decided not to service a cleaner version of her new single, “Everything,” to radio stations next week. The song from her forthcoming album, “So-Called Chaos,” begins with the line, “I can be an asshole of the grandest kind.”
In America, Morissette has replaced the a-word with the n-word — nightmare. The original version will still be on the album.
“We’ve decided here that we’re sticking with ‘asshole,’ ” says Warner Music Canada’s Steve Coady, vice-president, radio promotion. “I think her home really is at Hot AC and CHR, and the song will cross over to AC, but if there’s backlash — and there will be at AC radio — and we get people saying, ‘I love the track but I can’t (play it) because of…’ then we’ll service an edit. But out of the gate, we’ll go with the original version.”
The Ottawa-born Morissette, who boldly sang about about wine, dining and 69-ing and if you’re thinking of her when you f**k her on 1995’s “Jagged Little Pill,” originally resisted making the change to her song.
“It did get to the point, post-nipplegate Janet Jackson, where they were basically saying that they wouldn’t play the song,” she says. “The thought of people not hearing the song, based on my shooting myself in the foot, by taking a stance of ‘my artistic integrity will not be f**ked with and I will not sing another word,’ it really isn’t a huge compromise for me to have one version that’s played on radio and then have the original version on the record.
“And I understand some parents not wanting their seven year old son or daughter hearing the word ‘asshole’ even though they probably use it already (laughs).”
The word ‘asshole’ seems so tame considering what radio stations did play (albeit bleeped) from “You Oughta Know,” Morissette’s breakthrough hit in 1995 which propelled “Jagged Little Pill” to sales of more than 30 million copies worldwide. Comedian Denis Leary had a cult hit back in 1993 with his single/video “Asshole” and Gene Simmons’ solo album, also due May 18, is entitled “Asshole.”
The word is just a tiny point in the “Everything” lyric, which is actually about Morissette’s focus on being a whole person, as opposed to a good person, to be all parts of herself, including the “asshole” or “nightmare.”
The video, shot in Los Angeles with director Meirt Avis (U2, Bruce Springsteen), was inspired by Spanish band Jarabe de Palo’s “Bonito,” whose video was sent to Morissette by Maverick’s Guy Oseary.
“We flew lead singer (Paul DonÈs) and his brother (Marc DonÈs), who directed it, into LA from Spain and they collaborated with Meirt, who directed my video,” says Morissette. “We all sat around, all four of us, and came up with a bunch of ideas. The main crux of it is my walking down a street and all these people and situations come in and out while I’m walking and singing the song.”
Morissette is resigned to the silliness of it all, and admits it was actually quite comedic throwing out ideas for an “asshole” substitute. “One of them was ‘crack ho,'” she laughs uproariously. “I won’t be using that one.”
She finally settled on “nightmare.”
“One of my worst fears would be for an old boyfriend of mine to consider me a nightmare,” explains Morissette. “I just feel like men use that word so much more than women do. Men say ‘Oh God , she’s a nightmare,’ I just want to shake them, and say, ‘What specifically are you talking about, that she required that you tap into your emotional self?’ (laughs). So it was good to use that word in the spirit of busting my own resistance for it.”
Alanis lyric censored in U.S.