Hands Clean

Album: Under Rug Swept (2002)
Charted: 12 23
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  • If it weren't for your maturity none of this would have happened
    If you weren't so wise beyond your years I would've been able to control myself
    If it weren't for my attention you wouldn't have been successful and
    If it weren't for me you would never have amounted to very much

    Ooh this could be messy
    But you don't seem to mind
    Ooh don't go telling everybody
    And overlook this supposed crime
    We'll fast forward to a few years later
    And no one knows except the both of us
    And I have honored your request for silence
    And you've washed your hands clean of this

    You're essentially an employee and I like you having to depend on me
    You're kind of my protege and one day you'll say you learned all you know from me
    I know you depend on me like a young thing would to a guardian
    I know you sexualize me like a young thing would and I think I like it

    Ooh this could be messy
    you don't seem to mind
    Ooh don't go telling everybody
    overlook this supposed crime
    We'll fast forward to a few years later
    And no one knows except the both of us
    And I have honored your request for silence
    And you've washed your hands clean of this

    What part of our history's reinvented and under rug swept?
    What part of your memory is selective and tends to forget?
    What with this distance it seems so obvious?

    Just make sure you don't tell on me especially to members of your family
    We best keep this to ourselves and not tell any members of our inner posse
    I wish I could tell the world 'cause you're such a pretty thing when you're done up properly
    I might want to marry you one day if you watch that weight and keep your firm body

    Ooh this could get messy
    Ooh you don't seem to mind
    Ooh don't go telling everybody
    and overlook this supposed crime
    We'll fast forward to a few years later
    And no one knows except the both of us
    And I have honored your request for silence
    And you've washed your hands clean of us

    Ooh this could get messy
    Ooh I don't seem to mind
    Ooh don't go telling everybody
    and overlook this supposed crime
    We'll fast forward to a few years later
    And no one knows except the both of us
    And I have honored your request for silence
    And you've washed your hands clean of this Writer/s: Alanis Morissette
    Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 23

  • Brian Mcdonnell from New Rochelle, New YorkThat song came out back in the day when I was in second grade on VH1 and it brings so many memories.
  • Sue from Toronto, OntarioThe song "Hands Clean" is about Canadian music producer Leslie Howe. He produced her first album, Alanis, and had unlimited access to her, as well as power over her career. The each verse changes viewpoints from her in the present to him (the predator) at the time of the abuse. She was 14 when she started working with him and he was 29. Although she may have been willing and not known any better (or more likely, was afraid to say no to his advances), she was unable to legally consent to any type of sexual relations with an adult. That's why she is naming it as statutory rape.
  • Leon from United StatesI heard this song was about Ryan Adams.
  • Max Douglas from Los Angeles, CaThe song is about Leslie Howe, who produced her first two albums in Canada when she was a teenager (before "Jagged Little Pill.") He said because she was so mature, he didn't think of her as a child and thus their romantic relationship -- the verses/pre-chorus are written from his point of view; the chorus/bridge is her writing from present day.
  • Jude from UkTroubling that you have put a spin on this to make it sound like she was in some way inviting or deserving of this, when actually she was groomed and raped by somebody who should know better, but who used his power to manipulate her instead of nurture her.
  • Roberta from Sao PauloYes, this song it was about the rape.

    https://bit.ly/3c5lIyz
  • Anon from WtfYou got it all wrong, this about Alanis and a YOUNGER MAN. "protégé" means a person who is guided and supported by an older and more experienced or influential person. The guy was HER protégé, not the other way around! And she said he learned from her, was a young thing etc. Wtaf. Completely backwards!
  • Betawolfinva from Falmouth, Va"Supposed crime" definitely refers to Statuatory rape

    As is the "need" to not tell the family..

    As is referring to only doing it because she was precocious.
  • Rudrat2 from NowhereUgh. another manager took advantage of Alanis.. financially.. Jonathon Scwhartz took 5 million from her between 2009 - 2016. Jesus.. there are some really predatory jerks out there. http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-38673219

    Reading this manger stealing from her reminded me of Hands Clean and I stumbled on this thread. Alanis told Howard Stern that she met Dave when she was 19 and the age difference was that not that shocking because she had dated someone with a bigger age range when she was 14-15 and that guy was a record exec/producer etc and other interviews about Hands Clean she says it was about her record manager that was 15 years older than her, and he abused her. Pictures of Alanis from those years - late 80's early 1990's she is with Stephan Klovan...who was new as an entertainment manager - he was a former ice skater...and discovered her singing the national anthem. He handles Ice Capades reunion and frequently posts throwback photos of his first show.. when he was 20.. in 1979.. at the 40th Ice Capades in Atlantic city. Doing the math... if he was 20 in 1979.. that means he was born 1959. Alanis was born in 1974. So 1974 - 1959 = 15 years difference.

    Oh and there are these pics of them together...looking a little more than business...so pretty sure it's this guy. And if he did this to Alanis when she was 14-15 years old.. kinda creepy that he's still affiliated with the Ice Capades.

    http://www.calgaryherald.com/Photos+Alanis+Morissette+early+years/3123614/story.html
    http://www.definitelyalanis.com/article36.html
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKUBn3-EvsI&t=12m28s
    http://www.manleywoman.com/episode-41-ice-capades-70th-reunion-part-1/
    http://www.ottawacommunitynews.com/news-story/5250988-nepean-resident-brings-ice-capades-to-ottawa/
  • Uberfan from Miramar, FlNo wonder she had a breakdown and disappeared before her Jagged Little Pill album. I still love her though...

    Check out this site that helps you put it all together...

    http://alanismorissette.8m.com/alanis_lyrics.html
  • Mike from Ottawa, OnThis song is about a early Alanis producer, but not Glen Ballard.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnIt doesn't matter who this song is about, all that matters is that this is an amazing song. She always speaks her truth and never looks back.
  • Julia from Warrenton, VaThis song isn't written about the guy that plays Uncle Joey from Full House. The song that was written about him was Uninvited.
  • Mark from Toronto, CanadaThe line "I might want to marry you one day if you watch that weight and you keep your firm body"... Alanis has often said that she would be called in to do vocals and it would actually end up getting a lecture about her having to stay thin, resulting in her developing an eating disorder. So it does seem like it was someone she was initially professional with. She did not meet Dave Coulier until she was a bit older, and didn't meet Glen Ballard until she was 19 or 20.
  • Anne from Dodge City, KsThis song always reminds me of the Mary Kay Latourneau and Vili Fualaa story which, all things considered, ended rather happily now that he is of age. (Even though this probably wasn't the inspiration). When she sings if it weren't for your maturity none of this would have happened, it implies that she is the adult. Then when she sings if it weren't for me you would never have been successful. Vili was a great artist for his age.
  • Shonda from Los Angeles, CaThe lyric's of this song is about a young girl getting taking advantage of. It's kind of sad in a way.
  • Suzanne from San Diego, CaI've heard the man she references in "Hands Clean" is singer Dave Matthews.
  • Anele from Joburg, South AfricaThis is about a relationship she had with her much older manager when she started singing at age 14, nice track.
  • Sarah from Cape Town, United Statesamanda - i don't think this is the case. in the credits on Jagged Little Pill she refers to ballard as her "spiritual brother" - something she would not have called him if she had just slagged him off. the same applies to Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie - she thanks ballard profusely, and appears to regard him as a friend. also, on JLP she says "you scan the credits for your name and wonder why it's NOT there". while i think coulier is prob the most likely candidate that we know about it, i think brian is right. only thing is, it doesn't make sense for her to refer to the person in Hands Clean teaching her everything she knows about the music industry if she is talking about coulier. maybe she's talking about someone none of us have heard of, or maybe "hands clean" and "you oughta know" refer to different people. the only thing she has admitted for sure is that "you oughta know" is about coulier. apart from that, she has admitted nothing about any of the other songs.
  • Adeeb from Dhaka, OtherI've allways thought this was a about an older woman talking about to a young guy she had a relationship with. Seemed fitting at that time.
  • Emily from Madison, WiI think that this is a song about someone getting molested. "We'll fast forward to a few years later And no one knows except the both of us And I have honoured your request for silence". That is one of the many lyrics that prove it to be about a young child or something being sexual abused. Just listen to the lyrics...its so clear
  • Brian from Edmonton, CanadaAn article on Alanis appears in MacLean's (Canada) magazine in early 2002, in which she discusses this song. She makes comments that seem to imply that the older man the song is about was someone who she initially knew on a professional level.
  • Amanda from Canada, CanadaI think the song 'Hands Clean' is about her producer, Glen Ballard. It makes sence, he IS an older man, and she now produces her OWN stuff.
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