Hand In My Pocket

Album: Jagged Little Pill (1995)
Charted: 26 15
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Many songs on the Jagged Little Pill album are very Zen. This is one of them - it finds Alanis staying composed and relaxed in a maddening world, all the while railing against conformity. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • One hand is in her pocket, but what is the other one doing? Five different things throughout the song, it turns out:

    Giving a high five

    Flicking a cigarette

    Giving a peace sign

    Playing the piano

    Hailing a taxi cab
  • Morissette wrote this with Glen Ballard, who produced the album.
  • This was the follow-up single to "You Oughta Know," which was a huge hit for Alanis and introduced her to the world outside of her native Canada, where she had released two dance albums. "Hand In My Pocket" was a different style, but had similarly introspective lyrics. Like "You Oughta Know," it wasn't sold as a single in America so fans would have to buy the album to get it. This made it ineligible for the Hot 100, but helped push Jagged Little Pill to sales of an astounding 16 million in the US. In October 1995, "Hand In My Pocket" went to #1 on the Modern Rock chart (as did "You Oughta Know") and rose to #15 on the Airplay chart.

    Alanis mania continued well into 1996, when her singles "Ironic" and "You Learn," which were sold in stores, reached the Top 10 of the Hot 100.
  • Rolf Harris covered this in 1997 on his album Can You Tell What It Is Yet?
  • This was supposed to be the theme song to the hit '90s teen drama Dawson's Creek until Morissette changed her mind at the last minute. Paula Cole's "I Don't Want To Wait" was used instead.
  • The Glee cast covered this in the 2015 episode "Jagged Little Tapestry." It was also used in the TV shows Crossing Jordan (in the 2002 episode "The Gift of Life") and Transparent (in the 2016 episode "Exciting and New"). In the latter, it was sung by Judith Light.
  • In the 2017 movie Lady Bird, the title character (played by Saoirse Ronan) is in a car with her dad when this song is playing. She says: "Did you know that Alanis Morissette wrote this song in only ten minutes?" His reply: "I believe it."

    This exchange works for character development, as Lady Bird tends to exaggerate and stretch the truth and her dad doesn't question her. It took considerably more than 10 minutes for Morissette and Ballard to write the song.
  • Morissette performed this during her first Saturday Night Live appearance on October 28, 1995.
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Comments: 6

  • Ray from Ny NyMaybe underrated but radio stations appreciate it enough to play it often. I love the choice to displace the lines where the other hand is doing something so that it does not rhyme. it goes against formula and conformity which seems to be the overall message of the album. l'd like to find out more about this choice, very clever.
  • Mike from Kansas CityThere are two meanings... And the first had to do with the common relationship to "hand in pocket" add regards giving to charity. Though she is broke, poor, short, young, tired, disillusioned and so on.... She can still reach in her pocket and fund something to give back.... Meaning she still has value.

    The second regards her follow up line with what she does with the other hand. Overall no matter what her situation (always followed up with "but I'm kind.... I'm working... Happy... Etc), she still had two hands to work, love, give... And so long as she has these two hands... Everything is Gonna be "fine, fine, fine."
  • Scott from Orchard Park, NyI read somewhere that she is supposed to be masturbating with the one hand in her pocket. She kind of moans at the end of her lines.
  • Fariha from Dhaka, BangladeshI feel this song talks about the things we go through in life. We have a lot of trouble but 'what it all boils down to is that everything's gonna be fine, fine, fine'. It also symbolizes growing up in a sense. It's a very refreshing change at a time when everyone's focused on the problems and difficulties. I love Alanis!
  • Rahul from Chennai, Indiathis song is awesome..... one of the best off jagged little pill...n bout the song..well yeah i agree with the songfact...
  • Tracy from Tulsa, OkLearning to recognize who you are an embracing it.
see more comments

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