Album: Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (1998)
Charted: 58
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Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Alanis addresses five different guys in an attempt to gain closure in her relationships with them. They are all real people; after writing the song, Alanis wasn't sure she wanted to broadcast her message to these guys in a song that anyone could hear - something she did on her previous album with the song "You Oughta Know." Her solution was to contact the guys and ask permission.

    On her VH1 Storytellers special, she said: "In the past something would happen to me and I would run somewhere and write about it, and not necessarily talk directly to the person. It was very convenient and resulted in a lot of release but not necessarily in a lot of closure, so this song I thought I was going to get away with that again, but because I couldn't sleep I knew that my plans were foiled. So I had to actually call these people and they were all very very sweet about it - they appreciated the fact that I called them. And now when I sing it I know that I can sing it with permission."
  • The song takes the form of unsent letters Alanis wrote to five meaningful men in her life, which in the song she names as Matthew, Jonathan, Terrance, Marcus and Lou. The word "unsent" doesn't appear in the lyric.
  • This was the third single released from Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. With no chorus - just the five verses - it was pretty unusual and failed to hit the Top 40. While it didn't find commercial success, the song did appeal to Alanis' core fans who seemed to appreciate the intimacy of the song and the harmonica solo.
  • Glen Ballard, who was Morissette's collaborator on her 1995 album Jagged Little Pill, returned for Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, co-writing and producing most of the tracks, including "Unsent."
  • Morissette directed the video, where she re-creates scenes with each of the guys she sings about. Dialog from their conversations is captioned on the screen as it plays.
  • This was used on the TV series Cougar Town in the 2013 episode "You Tell Me."

Comments: 2

  • Bill from Ohio, OhAlanis is referring to Dave Matthews as the first guy in the song. Hence the play on words “Dear Matthew” e.g. “Dave Matthews”. She worked on some tracks on Dave Matthew’s album “Before these Crowded Streets” and developed a platonic relationship with him and an admiration for his songwriting ability. Dave was faithfully married. Thus, the following lines “If you’re ever single in the future… come visit me in California…How old you were when you wrote your first song…?” She recorded “Unsent” soon after working with Dave in the studio sessions.
  • Mel from Boyds, MdThe first guy- Matthew was Matthew Sweet. He is a singer songwriter
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