|"Hand in My Pocket"|
Cover art for UK and European editions of the 1995 single release
|Single by Alanis Morissette|
|from the album Jagged Little Pill|
|Released||October 31, 1995|
|Recorded||1994 – April 1995|
|Genre||Pop rock, post-grunge|
|Alanis Morissette singles chronology|
"Hand in My Pocket" is a rock song by Canadian recording artist and songwriter Alanis Morissette, for her third studio album, Jagged Little Pill (1995). The song was written by Morissette and Glen Ballard, and was released as the second single from the album. The song was released on October 31, 1995, nearly five months after the album release. "Hand in My Pocket" received generally favorable reviews from music critics, who applauded Morissette's songwriting. "Hand in My Pocket" also received substantial success through radio airplay in the US. The song became Morissette's second number-one hit on Billboard's US Modern Rock Tracks chart. The song also went in the top ten in New Zealand and the US. An accompanying music video was released for the single, featuring Morissette at a festival, driving her car in black and white form, which also received positive reviews.
In 1991, MCA Records Canada released Morissette's debut studio album Alanis, which went Platinum in Canada. This was followed by her second album, Now Is the Time, but it was a commercial failure, selling only a little more than half the copies of her first album. With her two-album deal with MCA Records Canada complete, Morissette was left without a major label contract. In 1993, Morissette's publisher Leeds Levy at MCA Music Publishing introduced her to manager Scott Welch. Welch told HitQuarters he was impressed by her "spectacular voice", her character and her lyrics. At the time she was still living with her parents. Together they decided it would be best for her career to move to Toronto and start writing with other people. After graduating from high school, Morissette moved from Ottawa to Toronto. Her publisher funded part of her development and when she met producer and songwriter Glen Ballard, he believed in her talent enough to let her use his studio. The two wrote and recorded Morissette's first internationally released album, Jagged Little Pill, and by the spring of 1995, she had signed a deal with Maverick Records. According to Welch, every label they had approached had passed on Morissette apart from Maverick.
"Hand in My Pocket" was written by Morissette and Glen Ballard. Ballard met Morissette on March 8, 1994, after his publishing company matched them up. According to Ballard, the connection was "instant", and within 30 minutes of meeting each other they had begun experimenting with different sounds in Ballard's home studio in San Fernando Valley, California. Ballard also declared to Rolling Stone that, "I just connected with her as a person, and, almost parenthetically, it was like 'Wow, you're 19?' She was so intelligent and ready to take a chance on doing something that might have no commercial application. Although there was some question about what she wanted to do musically, she knew what she didn't want to do, which was anything that wasn't authentic and from her heart."
The song is a mainstream rock song. The chorus of "Hand in My Pocket" uses a poetry technique, "rhyme juxtaposition", as its primary lyrical structure, as exemplified by the off-set coupling of the first and second stanzas of each chorus. In the first chorus for example, "fine, fine, fine" is coupled with "a high five", when it should, according to traditional rhyming schemes, be instead set against the "a peace sign" which closes the third chorus, and which is in turn, coupled with a first line ending with the phrase, "a cigarette", which is a clear rhyme with the end of the second chorus: "out just yet". Morissette does not carry the scheme consistently throughout the song (there are, for instance, no rhymes for "hailing a taxicab" or "playing the piano").
While reviewing Jagged Little Pill, AllMusic dubbed the track an album highlight. Additionally, G-Pop.net said "This is not exactly my favorite track, but if you listen to it enough times, you'll get the meaning and the lyrics can sometimes be fun to play with."
"Hand in My Pocket" peaked at number one in her native Canada, becoming Morissette's first number one single there. The song also peaked at number one on the US Modern Rock Tracks (Alternative) chart, at number four on the US Mainstream Top 40 (Pop Songs) chart, at number fifteen on the Hot 100 Airplay chart and at number eight on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song was successful throughout North America although the single was not released as a CD Single. Therefore it did not reach the Hot 100.
Elsewhere, the song debuted at number forty-nine in Australia, and peaked at number thirteen, staying there for two consecutive weeks. The song debuted at number thirty-nine in New Zealand and peaked at number seven, the only country outside of North America where it reached the top ten. The song had moderate success in Europe, debuting at number fifty-six in Sweden, and only managing to peak at number forty-five on the chart. It also peaked at number thirty-nine in France, only staying on the chart for five weeks and number eighty-six in the Netherlands with five weeks on that chart.
"You Oughta Know" received moderate to major success worldwide. In New Zealand the song peaked at number seven and was certified gold by Recorded Music NZ (RMNZ), for shipments of 15,000 copies. The song saw some success in the United Kingdom, debuting and peaking at number twenty six on the week ending of October 28, 1995, over the course of the next two weeks "Hand in My Pocket", fell to thirty seven then fifty four, spending a total of three weeks on the chart.
The single was added in the set list for Morissette's concert tour, Jagged Little Pill World Tour (1995). The song was added to the tour's video album Jagged Little Pill Live (1997). Since then, the song has been included in her albums MTV Unplugged (1999),Feast on Scraps (2002), and The Collection, as well as 1997 Grammys and the MTV Unplugged compilation albums.
Directed by Mark Kohr and filmed in black-and-white and slow motion, the song's video features Morissette among a homecoming parade in Brooklyn, New York. As well as censoring the song's profanity, the video features extra guitar 'licks' on the lead-up to the bridge.
"Hand in My Pocket" served as the theme song in the unaired pilot episode of the television show Dawson's Creek, but Morissette decided not to have it used as the theme after the show was picked up. In 2015, the song was featured in an episode of American television series, Glee, called "Jagged Little Tapestry", covered by Naya Rivera and Heather Morris. "Hand in My Pocket" also features prominently in the final scene of the third season of Amazon's Transparent, when the character Shelly Pfefferman performs a cabaret version of the song aboard a cruise ship while her family looks on. In 2017, the song was featured in the American film, Lady Bird.