You Learn (3:59)

Cover of Jagged Little Pill

From Jagged Little Pill and 31 other releases

“You Learn” is a rock song written by Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard, and produced by Ballard for Morissette’s third album Jagged Little Pill (1995).

In the song the first glimpse of Morissette’s insightful, new-age guru appears for the first time, speaking of the importance of poor decision making in life and explaining that every decision that people make will teach a valuable lesson. A line from “You Learn” is the source of the title of Jagged Little Pill. It refers not to drug use, but rather to the lessons of life being hard to accept (“Swallow it down, what a jagged little pill/ It feels so good swimming in your stomach”). The phrase is often mistaken for the title of the song, which Morissette has performed at nearly all her concerts. The arrangement of the song has changed repeatedly (particularly parts of the chorus melody), but the lyrics have remained the same.

In the United States the track was number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 Airplay chart for five weeks. After its radio airplay had started to decline, “You Learn” was released as a retail single and debuted and peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100. Because the CD single includes a live version of “You Oughta Know” from the 1996 Grammy Awards as an A-side, Billboard credited the chart position to “You Learn”/”You Oughta Know”. An acoustic version of the song from Morissette’s live album Alanis Unplugged (1999) was released as a single in some countries in 2000. Another acoustic version was recorded for the album Jagged Little Pill Acoustic (2005) and charted at sixty-six on the Tokio Hot 100 radio chart in Japan.

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