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This was the first single from Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, which was released 3 years after Morissette's wildly popular Jagged Little Pill. The wait created a lot of demand for new Alanis material.
Morissette wrote this after taking a year and a half off. She toured constantly in 1995 and 1996 to support Jagged Little Pill. The song is Morissette's reaction to the conflicted feelings she had after achieving success. In her VH1 Storytellers appearance, she explained: "I felt that I lived in a culture that told me that I had to consistently and constantly look outside myself to feel this elusive bliss. And I achieved a lot of what society had told me to achieve and I still didn't feel peaceful. I started questioning everything, and I realized that actually everything was an illusion and it was scary for me because everything I had believed in was dissolving in front of me and there was a death of sorts, a really beautiful one ultimately, but at first a very scary one, and so I stopped. I stopped for the first time and I was overcome with a huge sense of compassion for myself first, and then naturally that translated into my feeling and compassion for everyone around me and a huge amount of gratitude that I had never felt before to this extent. And that's why I had to write this song, 'Thank U,' because I had to express how exciting this was and how scary it was and all of these opportunities for us to define who we are."
The video showed Alanis singing naked in the middle of an empty city street. Her hair covered her breasts and her crotch was digitally obscured to keep it family-friendly. A city block had to be shut down to shoot the video.
The album set the record for most copies sold by a female artist its first week with 460,000.
This was nominated for a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal.
During her time off, Morissette spent time in India, which gave her some of the ideas for this. She thanks India in the song.
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