"21 Things I Want in a Lover"
File:Under Rug Swept German album sampler.jpg
German Under Rug Swept album sampler
Single by Alanis Morissette
from the album Under Rug Swept
Released November 2002
Format Radio single
Genre Alternative rock, post-grunge
Length 3:28
Label Maverick
Writer(s) Alanis Morissette
Producer Alanis Morissette
Alanis Morissette singles chronology

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"21 Things I Want in a Lover"

"21 Things I Want in a Lover", sometimes just called "21 Things" for short, is a alternative rock song written by Alanis Morissette, and produced by her for her sixth album, Under Rug Swept (2002). The song features guitarist Dean DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots.


Morissette said that she is joking in one part of the song, but in another she's "dead serious. The more aware of the qualities I am looking for, the more I'm able to recognize them when they appear, as opposed to having the initial meeting romantically be singularly dependent on chemical reaction or some intangible, indefinable, heart-palpitating, palm- sweating thing ... [that] often result[s] in a huge amount of incompatibility, so the concept of compatibility is so much more important to me as I get older."[1] According to her, the song does not mention every quality she desires in a lover; she said she had "like 673 things" on her list, and that "It has to be updated after every guy."[2]

Release and receptionEdit

Q magazine said the song contained "a trampoline-bouncing guitar riff to detract attention from lyrics packed tighter than a holiday suitcase."[3] Robert Christgau wrote, "Morissette instantly demonstrates her gift for the catchy, crunching out a guitar riff and then revealing 21 'not necessarily needs but things that I prefer' in a lover. Stretching out il-lu-si-on and for-med to suit scansion or mood, opposing capital punishment and coming out for sex 'more than three times a week,' topping memorable verse with indelible chorus, she's a self-actualized nut who goes for what she wants, exactly as pretentious as the college girls she represents for."[4] The LA Weekly called it "a wholly satisfying pop-rocker [that] launches the album with her laundry-list lyric style",[5] and Rolling Stone characterised it as a "power-chorded personal ad".[6]

"21 Things I Want in a Lover" was released to radio and television as the third single from Under Rug Swept in Brazil. The music video for the single comprises clips from the DVD release Feast on Scraps; some of these are from a performance of the song at Ahoy in Rotterdam, Netherlands on August 13, 2002, during Morissette's Toward Our Union Mended Tour. The video premiered on Channel [V] International in Malaysia on November 2,[7] and on MTV Brazil on November 20.[8]


  1. "Alanis Morissette talks about songs from 'Under Rug Swept'". MSO. Retrieved April 5, 2007.
  2. Sullivan, Kate. "Well Rounded Little Pill". Spin. March 2002. Retrieved April 5, 2007.
  3. Blake, Mark. "Review - Alanis Morissette: Under Rug Swept". Q. February 2002. Retrieved January 28, 2007 from the Wayback Machine.
  4. Christgau, Robert. "Alanis Morissette". Retrieved January 28, 2007.
  5. Lewis, Miles Marshall. "Music Reviews". LA Weekly. March 13, 2002. Retrieved January 28, 2007.
  6. Pareles, Jon. "Alanis Morissette - Under Rug Swept". Rolling Stone. March 14, 2002, RS 891. Retrieved January 28, 2007.
  7. Channel [V] International. November 2, 2002.
  8. November 19, 2002.