Album: Jagged Little Pill (1995)
Charted: 11 4
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  • Hey, I, I
    Yeah, ah, ah
    Yeah, I

    An old man turned ninety-eight
    He won the lottery and died the next day
    It's a black fly in your Chardonnay
    It's a death row pardon two minutes too late
    And isn't it ironic, don't you think?

    It's like rain on your wedding day
    It's a free ride when you've already paid
    It's the good advice that you just didn't take
    And who would've thought? It figures

    Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
    He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye
    He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
    And as the plane crashed down, he thought
    "Well, isn't this nice"
    And isn't it ironic, don't you think?

    It's like rain on your wedding day
    It's a free ride when you've already paid
    It's the good advice that you just didn't take
    And who would've thought? It figures

    Well, life has a funny way
    Of sneaking up on you
    When you think everything's okay
    And everything's going right
    And life has a funny way
    Of helping you out
    When you think everything's gone wrong
    And everything blows up in your face

    A traffic jam when you're already late
    A "no smoking" sign on your cigarette break
    It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
    It's meeting the man of my dreams
    And then meeting his beautiful wife
    And isn't it ironic, don't you think?
    A little too ironic, and yeah I really do think

    It's like rain on your wedding day
    It's a free ride when you've already paid
    It's the good advice that you just didn't take
    And who would've thought? It figures

    And yeah, well, life has a funny way
    Of sneaking up on you
    And life has a funny, funny way
    Of helping you out
    Helping you out Writer/s: Alanis Nadine Morissette, Glen Ballard
    Publisher: CONCORD MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 45

  • Sean Wright from New JerseyI have never been satisfied with definitions of irony I have seen. My own definition is that irony is a subversive relationship between intention and outcome or meaning and expression.
  • Eric Martin from Virginia, UsaA couple of other artists have taken shots at Morissette's apparent lack of grammar ability.
    In Weird Al's "Word Crimes" (a parody of Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines"), Al pokes fun at Morissette with the line, "You better figure out the difference, irony is not coincidence." In the video version, irony is illustrated by showing a fire truck on fire; it is contrasted by an illustration of rain falling on a bride and groom, which is just coincidental weather ("It's like rain on your wedding day...")
    When Lonely Island performed their comedic song "Semicolon" on Jimmy Kimmel's show, their fellow guest star Morissette pointed out that they had confused the meanings of semicolons and colons. Adam Sandberg of Lonely Island retorted, "So, you're correcting our grammar? Well, I gotta say, Alanis: Coming from you, that's... a little ironic!"
  • Skolinkinlot from UsaThis article is not correct. The universal definition of “irony” as a literary device defines it as an instance of the unexpected that plays on ignorance. Normally, a character in the story is ignorant of something the audience knows, but sometimes the audience doesn’t know something will happen and is surprised. Either way, someone expects or assumes one thing and something happens that violates the expectation. This has been the standard definition of the term in literary studies at least since the 1960s. So all the examples she gives in the song are in fact ironies because they play against what would be hoped for or expected.
  • Piper from Portland Orthe beanie cap worn in the video is so awesome, I got one from the store and wore it every day for years, made me feel the music, oh the irony of this song, when the man crashes after winning a lottery all I can think is I once won a 50$ scratch off ticket, her song could have been about me, imagine that if it was,
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaYes, the dictionary NOW says those are definitions of ironic, likely due to people thinkig this song defined irony rightly, so popular use made the error legitimate. :( Oh well, USA has never got the hang of the meaning of "irony" nor of "condescending" vs "patronizing"
  • Tony from CanadaThe irony is that a song about irony contains no irony. Thats ironic.
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaThe irony isn't present in each line, but in the overall song -- these bad things are shown as necessary to haer a good life -- isn't THAT ironic, she's saying -- or we could credit that, except she's admitted she didn't really understand the concept when writing the song. Serendipity, I guess, gets the full credit for cleverness. . .
  • Racefangurl from Ny StateThere's up to 3-4 ironies here. The sarcasm in the plane crash, the old lottery winner dying, the no smoking sign and perhaps bad stuff in life helping (situational irony with the last 2-3).
  • Tim from Gastonia, Nc98 year old man won the lottery and it was suppose to make his life better, but instead it killed him... The excitement of it all, heart attack.
    Perhaps the 98 year old man already had a wonderful life and didn't need the lottery but played any ways maybe checked his ticket with the great grand kids... And now he's dead. Pretty ironic, don't you think?
  • Keonna from Puckett, MsThis song does actually contain irony.
  • Frida from Lexington, KyThere are different forms of irony and the song IS ironic. It's called situational irony. Where the outcome of the situation is not what you would expect it to be. Not all ironic things have to be sarcasm. For example: "An old man turned 98, he won the lottery and died the next day." Most people would not expect a 98 year old man to win the lottery or die soon after.
  • Karen from Manchester, NhIf I may nit-pick further...she never actually SAYS that these things are ironic...she ASKS, "Isn't it ironic?"! Not normally my style of music, but even I'm not immune to that wonderful belting of "rain"!
  • Kirsty from Oxfordshire, United KingdomThe fact that none of the lyrics consist of irony in a song called ironic is ironic!! Therefore, Alanis didn't cock up at all!! Love her music and voice... very talented woman.
  • Shilo from Noneofyourbuisness, ItalyThis song is funny, but true in every way. And her voice is so unique... Amazing.
  • Matthew from Dumfries, United KingdomFace it, she cocked it up. that is what happens when you try to be all clever and wordy with little or no natural aptitude. she got caught out here.
  • Spencer from A Village, NjNone of this is Ironic, but its pretty funny.
  • Jailene from K-town, WaI just love this song. I don't really give a crap if it is actually ironic or not, the vocals are great and the lyrics are just funny, especially if you frolic through other people's pain.
  • Madalyn from Greensburg, PaI used a couple quotes from this song in a speech class I took once, and I got an A on that speech. Thanks... what a beautiful song.
  • Don from B G, KyPoster Jason said: "If yesterday you needed a spoon and there were 10,000 knives and today you needed a knife and there were 10,000 spoons". Jason how big is your utensil drawer? Remind me never to eat at your house. On topic, I prefer the def of IRONIC as being "it figures". Now go figure.
  • Julian from Placentia, CaShe better make the rock and roll hall of fame!
  • Michael from Melbourne, AustraliaEveryone should stop bagging Alanis. She is a fantastic artist, and this song absolutely rocks.

    I agree with Sarah from England. I love it when she belts out "Rain".

    Please enjoy music, everyone.
  • Dweebstick from Melbourne, AustraliaIsn't it ironic to be discussing semantics in rock music? It are a good song, but.
  • Nelson from MelbourneWhy be so technical? This is a good song in many ways. It's got a story, good feeling and great music. We all know what she means.
  • Dirk from Nashville, TnOK, so she was a bit wrong with her choice of words. How many grammatically challenged songs have we endured in the rock era? But you have to admit this--"Ironic" really kicks. The explosion of the word "rain" in every refrain. The way she flips off the phrase "It figures." The multi-layered emotion of the line "Yeah, I really do think." Alanis is an incredible craftsman on this recording (sorry--craftswoman). She is far more advanced than the rest of the 1990s pop pack. I say step back and let her use the word "ironic" however she durn well pleases.
  • AnonymousThe American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition: 2. a. Incongruity between what is expected and what actually occurs

    Wikipedia: Situational Irony: Players and events coming together in improbable situations creating a tension between expected and real results. Irony of Fate:The expression "irony of fate" stems from the notion that the gods (or the Fates) are amusing themselves by toying with the minds of mortals, with deliberate ironic intent. Situations resembling poetic justice, but lacking the aspect of justice, may also be ascribed to the irony of fate.

    Though, yes, in general this song does not adhere to the etymological definition of "feigned ignorance", and the idea of a double audience and double meaning.

    Are there double meanings here? No. Are there incongruities? Yes. That would be why the populace is split on whether the song contains any irony other than the actual lack of irony.

    In spite of this word misusage debate, (and I do tend to agree with those who say ironic is used incorrectly in this song, at least from the etymological standpoint, unless you believe in fate, in which case I do think the term ironic is very correctly applied in all senses of the word) I love this song for its way of throwing life in our faces. It forces reconsideration of the old adage 'Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.' The first and last verse offer the best examples of this. I'd find it difficult to believe the old man did not wish for winning the lottery, the customer did not wish for chardenne, the prisoner did not wish for a pardon, or that any woman does not wish to meet the man of their dreams. They all receive what they think they want, but aren't able to enjoy it. So here's the thought 'Do any of us really want what we think we want?' This song certainly makes me think (as I'm certain this rather lengthy post is revealing), and that might be the real reason I like it so much. I love the rare songs that provoke thought. Feel free to comment on any of this. (I also love hearing what other people think about things. They usually challenge me to question what I think and why I think the way I do, which is how I grow.)
  • Richard from Newport, Isle Of Wight, EnglandLook, Alanis fans, face facts. She cocked up when she wrote it, then tried to cover up this fact after someone pointed it out to her, by claiming that the whole song was being ironic, or some old cock-and-bull story. Which dug her hole even deeper. Basically, as a North American, she didn't know what irony is, and will probably never understand, if the comments of Victor, of Vienna, Virginia, are anything to go by.
  • Sarah from Midlands, EnglandMaybe Alanis was being ironic in calling it ironic. SUCH a good song to belt out when driving in my car!
  • Zach from Norman, OkShe's not using the term wrong. Irony is the occurrence of something that is the opposite of expected. Ex. you listen to a song called "ironic", and you probably expected there to be even a little irony in it.
  • Casie from Denver, CoI think she is trying to say that life sometimes doesn't make sense even though its really happening. A man turned 98 and won the lottery? it doesn't make sense but although its so ironic that it truly happened.
  • Merrie from Clive, IaIrony is an implied discrepancy between what is meant and what is said. Good song!
  • Josh from Pontypridd, WalesLovin the philosophy here. hc
  • Nicole from Houston, TxI think that this song is about all of the really crappy things that happen in life. At the end of the song she says life has a funny funny way of helping you out. See... in spite of all of the bad stuff that we have to go through... the bad stuff helps us get to where it is we are going. And that my friends, truly is ironic.
  • Nickc from Ft. Wayne, InThe song, and its intended lack of actual irony, demonstrates the way we try to rationalize or shrug off varying degrees of drama or even trauma in our lives. All this horrible stuff happens, and we make ourselves chuckle and say, "Isn't it ironic?" or something equally banal, rather than fessing up to the misery of the deal. This song, like the whole album, was all about emotional honesty.
  • Victor from Vienna, Vaok, some of the events she listed in my opinion are examples of irony, and some are examples of bad luck.

    Examples of irony:
    1) free ride when you've already paid
    2) mr. play-it-safe who was afraid to fly, and then took the flight and then it crashed
    3) good advice that you just can't take
    4) no-smoking sign on your cigarette break

    Examples of bad luck:
    1) old man who won the lottery and died the next day
    2) death-row pardon 2 minutes too late
    3) black fly in your chardonnay
    4) rain on your wedding day
    5) traffic jam when you're already late
    6) meeting the man of her dreams, and then meeting his beautiful wife
    7) 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife
  • Spriteboy from Nyc, NyAlanis has stated that the deliberate irony of her song "Ironic" is that it contains no actual irony.
  • Jason from Louisville, KyAlanis might want to look into the meaning of ironic. There is more history to irony than there is with bad luck. If yesterday you needed a spoon and there were 10,000 knives and today you needed a knife and there were 10,000 spoons, then you would have a case for irony "don't ya think."
  • Kurt from Downers Grove, IlWho cares if she's using the word ironic correctly or not! It's a good song.
  • Dino from Bandung, IndonesiaIronic (Ballard/Morissette) - 3:49, is actually the forth single after "You Oughta Know," "Hand in My Pocket" and "All I Really Want."
  • Meryl from Somewhere, EnglandThere's a tiny chance she was being ironic when she said it was ironic... but that would be reading into it QUITE A BIT.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesThis song is not really about irony, as Jordan said, it is about misfortune. Whether she was knowingly using the word in the incorrect sense or not, let's face it - the song just wouldn't have struck the same chord if it had been called "Unlucky", would it?
  • Amy from Cherry Hill, NjIronic means "it figures" and according to The American Heritage? Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
    Copyright ? 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
    Published by Houghton Mifflin Company, "The words ironic, irony, and ironically are sometimes used of events and circumstances that might better be described as simply 'coincidental' or 'improbable,'"therefore i think she conveys the correct meaning of the word.
  • Kenneth from New York, NyAlanis was using the common (and incorrect) use of the word. She knows that none of those situations is ironic. Gods bless you Alanis.
  • Daisy from Ikast, DenmarkDoes all that stuff really matter? Its a great song no matter if she's right or wrong...
  • Brian from Edmonton, CanadaI seem to recall that when this song was at it's peak back in 1996, a university professor studied this song, and released a report discussing the complete inaccuracy in the events it details as being ironic.
  • Jordan from North Bend, WaI think perhaps Alanis had one of the other meanings of irony in mind:
    incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result.

    However, the events in the song are still not ironic. She seems to have gotten ironic mixed up with unfortunate. Irony would be something like a man buying a smoke detector, which shorts out and burns his house down.
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