I Was Hoping

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I Was Hoping is an alternative rock song by Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard, released as track 10 on the album Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie on 1998-11-03. The song is a three-part dialogue between men (or one man?) and a woman (presumably Alanis). Instrumentally, the song has a thumping drum, a squealing synthesizer, and various ambient sounds which give it an insidious timbre. Alanis draws out words at various points to try and keep rhythm with such an odd number of syllables.

In the first scene, a married man is outside talking to the woman while his wife is in counseling. He is having self-doubt and she tries to help him, but when she is proud of her vegetarianism, he mocks her and then talks down to her. In the next scene, the woman is leaving a restaurant with an older man (an affair? platonic?) who is being complemented by a waiter, and the woman, who is far richer than the man, isn't bothered by the fact that she's being ignored, but remembers when she would have been pissed to be overlooked. In the third scene, the woman is asking questions about ethics to a conservative man, but she has a more liberal view and doesn't want to make him feel like she's judging him, which he identifies as the woman, once again, withdrawing from confrontation. Between each scene, the choruses imply that the woman was hoping they she could get along well with the men, but their interactions show that they clearly can not.


I didn't hear this song until after I bought SFIJ. I don't remember my initial impression, but after several re-listens, this track came to the fore-front and became my favorite off the album. I love the overall sound in addition to the content, and I've kept this song in my "sex" playlist because it's a perfect backdrop for passion.


As we were taking outside it was cold.
We were shivering, yet warmed by the subject matter.
My wife is in the next room we've been having troubles, you know.
Please don't tell her or anyone, but I need to talk to somebody.
You said, "Wouldn't it be a shame if I knew how great I was
five minutes before I died? I'd be filled with such regret
before I took my last breath," and I said, "You're willing to tell me this now
and you're not going to die any time soon." And I said,
"I haven't been eating chicken or meat or anything." And you said,
"Yes, but you've been wearing leather," and laughed and said, "We're 
at the top of the food chain, and, yes, you're still a fine woman."
And I cringed.

I was hoping, I was hoping we could heal each other.
I was hoping, I was hoping we could be raw together.

We left the restaurant where the head waiter (in his 60's) said,
"Good-bye sir, thank you for your business sir, you're successful and established sir,
We like the frequency with which you dine here sir,
And your money."
And when I walked by they said, "Thank you too dear."
I was all pigtails and cords,
And there was a day when I would've said something like,
"Hey dude I could buy and sell this place, so kiss it."
I too once thought I was owed something.

I was hoping, I was hoping we could challenge each other.
I was hoping, I was hoping we could crack each other up.

I too thought that when proved wrong I lost somehow, and,
I too once thought life was cruel, and,
It's a cycle really you think I'm withdrawing and guilt-tripping you.
I think you're insensitive and I don't feel heard.
And I said, "Do you believe we are fundamentally judgmental? Fundamentally evil?"
And you said, "yes."
I said, "I don't believe in revenge, in right or wrong, good or bad." You said,
"Well what about that man that I saw handcuffed in the emergency room 
bleeding after beating his kid,
and she threw a shoe at his head. I think what he did was wrong, 
and I would've had a hard time feeling compassion for him."
I had to watch my tone for fear of having you feel judged.

I was hoping, I was hoping we could dance together.
I was hoping, I was hoping we could be creamy together.


Album version.
Live in Toronto, 1998.
7 de 9 - Live In the Navajo Nation (acoustic).