Single by Alanis Morissette
from the album Under Rug Swept
Released Mid-2002
Format Radio single
Genre Pop rock
Length 6:03
Label Maverick
Writer(s) Alanis Morissette
Producer Alanis Morissette
Alanis Morissette singles chronology

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"Precious Illusions"
"21 Things I Want in a Lover"

"Flinch" is a pop rock song written by Alanis Morissette, and produced by her for her sixth album, Under Rug Swept (2002).


Morissette said she wrote "Flinch" immediately after an experience she had in Canada during which she nearly ran into the subject of the song, only eluding them by driving away. According to her, she was surprised that in spite of years after their last meeting (which was when she was "very, very young"), she was "responding to the situation as though I had been spending time with him two minutes earlier. I was kind of ashamed and a little embarrassed, but it was where I was at: just really being curious about how someone can have that much of an effect on me ... I do believe that I will be able to get to a point where hearing his name or even running into him or hearing from him won't trigger me as much as it did and still does. I don't know when that day will come but I'm singing about it hopefully coming."[1]

Release and receptionEdit

Billboard described "Flinch" as one of the "expansive, introspective interludes [on the album] ... highly skilled, bravura turns – both in terms of lyrical content and performance."[2] In a separate review of Under Rug Swept the song was named a "delicate ballad [that] recalls Joni Mitchell at her best".[3] The LA Weekly called it "the most straight-ahead ballad at over six minutes", and that it "falls short of [Morissette's] majestic 'Uninvited'".[4]

"Flinch" was released to radio and television as the second single from the album in Brazil; elsewhere, "Precious Illusions" served as the second single. The music video was a performance of the song Morissette did as part of a showcase for the television newsmagazine Fantástico, directed by Mauro Mendonça Filho.

A live version of "Flinch" recorded at the Whisky a Go Go is also available, which can be accessed with a copy of the album.


  1. "Alanis Morissette talks about songs from 'Under Rug Swept'". MSO. Retrieved 2007-04-05.
  2. Flick, Larry. "Alanis Excels On Her Own". Billboard. January 19, 2002, vol. 114, iss. 3, pg. 1.
  3. "Album Reviews". Billboard. March 2, 2002. Retrieved 2007-01-28.
  4. Lewis, Miles Marshall. "Music Reviews". LA Weekly. March 13, 2002. Retrieved 2007-01-28.