Alanis Morissette Album Covers – Ranked Best to Worst
Alanis Morissette is a Canadian-American singer-songwriter who has been making music since the early 1990s. As of today, she has released nine studio albums. In this article, I will be ranking Alanis Morissette’s album covers from best to worst, based on things such as the artwork itself (of course!), as well as whether the cover does a good job of reflecting the music that’s contained within the album.
Alanis Morissette Album Covers Ranked
Let’s begin with what I personally feel is the best album cover image by Alanis—and ironically enough, it’s her most recent album.
1) Such Pretty Forks in the Road (2020)
This is Morissette’s most recent album, and also the first she released in eight years (since Havoc and Bright Lights). The track list is jam packed with soft, emotional ballads, and I think that is portrayed quite well in the album cover. In fact, this cover depicts a sparkly Morissette seemingly covered in glitter in front of a plain black background.
The way I interpret it, this cover shows the two sides of fame; the sparkly Morissette represents the glitz and glam of being a famous artist, while the black background is the dark underside of fame that eventually creeps up on you.
It’s a vibe that I especially get from the song Smiling. This cover is dramatic, and also represents tracks like Nemesis and Pedestal well, where the main themes are those of fearing the world’s abandonment and not wanting to change. The album itself is startlingly real and very different from music she had released before, and the cover is a perfect representation of that.
2) Havoc and Bright Lights (2012)
The cover of this album shows Morissette standing in front of a blue sky with dandelions next to her. It’s simple, but it’s very aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and charmingly opposite to the title of the album, which I would have associated with a cover more like Such Pretty Forks in the Road. This calming artwork represents the soothing tone of the album, as well.
Many of the songs have a warm feeling, like sitting in the sunlight reading a good book or lounging by a fire. Empathy and Guardian are particularly notable tracks that I feel this cover represents perfectly. It’s genuinely a feel-good album, and that is clear in the smiling Morissette in the cover art.
Though something like this would be something I regarded as suffocatingly simple in other regards, the art just fits the album so well that I have to give it the high ranking that it deserves.
3) Jagged Little Pill (1995)
This was Morissette’s third album, and the first time her musical style seemed to shift, after Alanis and Now is the Time. The cover art is stylistic and colorful, which tends to be the type of art that attracts my eye. It almost feels like watercolor, with the reds and blues running down Morissette’s face like a rainbow falling on her.
This is the album that houses infamous You Oughta Know, which is arguably one of Morissette’s best known songs, and definitely the first track I had ever personally heard from her. I think this album art represents that song and other popular track Ironic well, but is almost a little too much for the subdued vibe of something like Perfect.
Regardless, I am such a fan of the artwork itself that I can overlook some minor discrepancies like that (though those discrepancies are mainly why this album came in third on this list). Of all of her album covers, I think this one is so perfectly Alanis Morissette, and will always be one of my favorites.
4) Now is the Time (1992)
Something about this album cover reminds me a lot of the movie poster for “Almost Famous.” Maybe it’s the sunglasses, I’m not entirely sure. But considering this was Morissette’s second album, I think that movie ties in well to her timeline of fame, since her third album, Jagged Little Pill, is almost undoubtedly the one that made her famous.
This album art almost feels grungy, because of the majority black-and-white color scheme, and it fits the rock feel of the song The Time of Your Life but also the slower, more emotional vibe of No Apologies. However, other songs like Big Bad Love that lean a little more into the pop genre, I don’t think this cover fits super well.
But, similarly to my last entry, I like the art so much that it keeps itself a little higher on this list than the other covers, though that could also be my love for “Almost Famous” talking.
5) So-Called Chaos (2004)
I, again, like this cover because of how colorful it is. But it is at this point in the list where we start dipping into cover art that I just find a little more boring, or that leaves more to be desired. Though Morissette is a very beautiful woman, I do think more could have been done with this cover than just her face with some color thrown over.
With that being said, Morissette released this album at a time in her life when things were going very well for her. A lot of the tracks on this album are very love-focused, and are generally more light-hearted in nature (except for maybe Eight Easy Steps). Admittedly, this album art fits that vibe. I love this art for songs Knees of my Bees and title track So-Called Chaos. Though this cover is not my favorite, I do find it pretty and think it works with the songs on the album.
6) Alanis (1991)
Again, I think Morissette is very pretty, but this album cover is just her face. It ranks below So-Called Chaos because it’s entirely black-and-white, except for “Alanis” written in purple letters.
This was Morissette’s first album, and she went through a lot of work to get it released. The songs on this album are very pop, and I just don’t think the subdued look of the album cover represents that. Maybe it works for tracks like On My Own, which is just a little bit slower than the other songs. But literally every other song on the album is high-energy, fast-paced, and almost a little electronic in some places (especially Human Touch).
Honestly, the only reason I didn’t rank this cover lower on this list is because I do find Morissette nice to look at, and, for reasons you will see coming up, I just dislike the other covers sightly more.
7) Under the Rug Swept (2002)
It’s a little painful for me to put this album so low on this list, as it is one of my favorites by the artist—but I find the cover art tacky.
An orange-tinged Morissette over a blue background? This kind of vibe is overused. There’s nothing especially unique about it, other than just having Morissette’s face on it. That being said, this is a style of cover art that is often used in the pop genre, so the more pop feeling songs on the album, like So Unsexy, make its use a little more justified.
But many of the other songs, including 21 Things I Want in a Lover and Narcissus, are a little more rock than this cover art would lead on. I re-listened to every song on the album for the sake of writing this entry, and really, So Unsexy is genuinely the only song I think this cover works for. It just doesn’t do anything else on the album justice.
It’s a shame.
8) Flavors of Entanglement (2008)
I don’t really understand what the designer of this cover art was going for. It shows Morissette looking a little morosely off into the distance, with a strange kind of marble-but-not-really-marble design on the rest of the cover.
Morissette’s sad gaze may be representative of songs like Moratorium, which is about relationship troubles, or Torch, which has some themes of loss. But then I don’t think the art’s bare bones aesthetic does Citizen of the Planet or Straitjacket justice.
It almost feels like the cover design was an afterthought in the release of this album. I’m not a big fan of the art at all, and think more could have been done to show off the diverse range of genres and messages of the songs on the album.
9) Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (1998)
Same as I felt for Flavors of Entanglement, I don’t know what kind of direction the creator of this album cover was trying to go in. This features Morissette’s smiling mouth with some words thrown on top. Though Morissette has nice teeth, this cover frankly makes me uncomfortable. It’s just very weird to me, and it doesn’t really represent a specific genre of music.
I mean honestly, what was the audience supposed to get from a picture of teeth? I could list every song on this album and say that the cover art doesn’t accurately represent any of them. Baba, Thank U, One. None of them.
I would never use the word “hate” because I think it has some very strong connotations, and I don’t really feel that strongly about much of anything, but in this case, I do strongly dislike pretty much everything about this cover art.
Despite that admittedly aggressive final entry, I do rather enjoy most of these Alanis Morissette’s album covers. Though none of them are typically the art style I am drawn to, many of them represent Morissette as an artist and the songs on each album quite well.
I have been a fan of Alanis Morissette since I was a kid, and have some strong emotional ties to her music since my mother was also a big fan of hers. And I honestly think her music deserved a little more than what a lot of her album covers had to offer, save for Such Pretty Forks in the Road and Havoc and Bright Lights.
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