Hands Clean

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Hands Clean"
Single by Alanis Morissette
from the album Under Rug Swept
Released 8 January 2002 (2002-01-08) (United States)
Format CD single
Genre Pop rock
Length 4:31 (album version)
3:50 (radio edit)
Label Maverick
Writer(s) Alanis Morissette
Producer(s) Alanis Morissette
Alanis Morissette singles chronology
"King of Pain"
"Hands Clean"
"Precious Illusions"

"Hands Clean" is a song by Canadian recording artist and songwriter Alanis Morissette for her fifth studio album Under Rug Swept (2002). It was released as the lead single of the album. The song was written and produced by Morissette herself. She reportedly said in an interview to US Weekly that the song is about an affair she had with a man when she was 14.[1]

The song received generally positive reviews from music critics, which some immediately chose the track as an album standout. "Hands Clean" did well through the charts. The song peaked at number 23 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song also peaked at number three on the U.S. Adult Top 40 and topped the charts in New Zealand (Morissette's first number one) and Canada. An accompanying music video was released in 2002 for the single.


The narrative voice of the song alternates; in the verses and bridge, an older man talks to a younger lover, whereas the chorus has the woman reminiscing about that past relationship.[2][3] She reportedly said in an interview to US Weekly that the song is about an affair she had with a man when she was 14.[1]

An acoustic version of "Hands Clean" was released as a B-side to "Precious Illusions", the album's second single, and included on the Under Rug Swept rarities collection Feast on Scraps.

Critical reception[edit]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic highlighted the song as an album highlight from Under Rug Swept. He also compared the lyrics and production to her earlier hit "You Oughta Know". Stephen Thompson from The A.V. Club gave it a mixed review. He said that "Hands Clean" was "so typically unambiguous" But did say the track is "infectious enough to surpass the direst moment of Under Rug Swept".[4] Entertainment Weekly compared the track to "You Oughta Know", saying "'Hands Clean' could be the sequel to [You Oughta Know]".[5]

NME gave it a more average mixed review, but later finished in a positive review, saying "A tolerable enough tune, mind, for those who think their chocolate craving says something poignant about their inner selves."[6] Rob Mitchum joked, saying "By assuming Coulier's voice and singing lecherous lines like, "Just make sure you don't tell on me, especially to the members of your family," and, "I might want to marry you one day if you'd watch that weight and keep your firm body," Morissette must be making Coulier very uncomfortable wherever he is today."[7] Nikki Tranter from Popmatters expressed comparisons to the lyrical content from Morissette's songs "Plastic" and "Jealous", from her first album Alanis. She said "they discuss male weaknesses and the effects that surrounding groups such as family, friends and exes can have on a relationship."[8]

Chart performance[edit]

"Hands Clean" had done very well in the charts. The song peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number three on the Adult Top 40 in the United States. The song debuted at number 12 on the UK Singles Chart, where it peaked there, but failed to go further, staying in the charts for seven weeks.[9]

The song had debuted at number nine on the Australian Singles Chart, her highest since "Ironic", but peaked there, staying in the charts for 13 weeks.[10] The song had debuted at number forty-eight on the New Zealand Singles Chart. It became unsuccessful after ten weeks, but when it landed at number 30, the next week went to number one, becoming not just Morissette's first number one, but the months biggest jump in 2002.[11] The song also received gold by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ).[12] The song had debuted at number three in Italy and stayed in the charts for nine weeks. The song debuted at number 66 on the French Singles Chart, staying in the charts for ten weeks.[13] The song had peaked at number seven in Norway, number five in Germany and number 12 in Austria.[14]

Music video[edit]

Background and synopsis[edit]

Francis Lawrence directed its music video. It was televised and broadcast for the single's worldwide release.

The video begins with Alanis sitting in a sushi bar when she spies a man (played by Chris Sarandon) as he enters. She takes a moment to reflect upon her time with him, which, from the look on her face, was not so good. We see Alanis's memories played out on a television screen, and so the process begins, recorded for public viewing and re-viewing. We see her writing about the relationship, guitar in hand, creating a song which she then records and takes to a record producer (played by Ian Gomez), who presses it as a CD. She is soon posing for the CD sleeve photograph and shooting a video, which is played all over the world, just as the CD is being shipped across oceans, in order to be put on display at hip record stores, where it is snapped up by many eager hands. At the video's conclusion, set a year after its beginning, Morissette again sees her former boyfriend enter the same sushi bar. Through her song, and the process of it becoming a hit and then a memory, she has come to terms with her past relationship. On seeing the ex this second time, she is able to move on: before departing the restaurant, she picks up a napkin and wipes her hands clean.


The video was generally praised for being a short and simple video. The song has received 2.5 million views on YouTube by March 2013.[15]

Track listing[edit]

Australian CD 1 / UK CD 1
  1. "Hands Clean" (album version) – 4:29
  2. "Fear of Bliss" (non-LP track) – 4:36
  3. "Sister Blister" (non-LP track) – 4:10
Australian CD 2 / EU maxi-single
  1. "Hands Clean" – 4:29
  2. "Awakening Americans" – 4:25
  3. "Unprodigal Daughter" – 4:09
  4. "Symptoms" – 4:15
  1. "Hands Clean" – 4:29
  2. "Unprodigal Daughter" – 4:09
  3. "Symptoms" – 4:15
US CD single
  1. "Hands Clean" – 4:29
  2. "Awakening Americans" – 4:25
  3. "Symptoms" – 4:15

Official versions[edit]

  • "Hands Clean" (album version) – 4:29
  • "Hands Clean" (acoustic version) – 4:08
  • "Hands Clean" (radio edit) – 3:50
  • "Hands Clean" (sound check)

The album version has a repeat of the chorus before an instrumental solo plays until the end, while the radio edit only plays the chorus once at the end before the instrumental solo.


Chart (2002) Peak
Argentina 1
Australia (ARIA)[16] 9
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[17] 12
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[18] 40
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[19] 38
Canada (CANOE)[20] 1
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100) 19
France (SNEP)[21] 66
Germany (Media Control)[22] 18
Ireland (IRMA)[23] 13
Italy (FIMI)[24] 3
Netherlands (MegaCharts)[25] 15
New Zealand (RIANZ)[26] 1
Norway (VG-Lista)[27] 7
Romania (Airplay Top 100)[28] 99
Spain (AFYVE)[29] 14
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[30] 32
Switzerland (Hitparade)[31] 5
United Kingdom (The Official Chart Company)[32] 12
US Billboard Hot 100[20] 23
US Billboard Mainstream Top 40[20] 19
US Billboard Adult Top 40[20] 3

End of year chart[edit]

End of year chart (2002) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[33] 95


  1. ^ a b AskMen.com - Alanis Morissette
  2. ^ Alanis Morissette: Under Rug Swept: Music Reviews: Rolling Stone
  3. ^ Hands Clean by Alanis Morissette Songfacts
  4. ^ http://origin.avclub.com/articles/alanis-morissette-under-rug-swept,22060/
  5. ^ "Music Review: Under Rug Swept, by Alanis Morissette". Entertainment Weekly. 25 February 2002. 
  6. ^ http://www.nme.com/reviews/alanis-morissette/6082
  7. ^ http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/5429-under-rug-swept/
  8. ^ http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/morissettealanis-under
  9. ^ http://archive.is/20120728171223/http://www.chartstats.com/release.php?release=29480
  10. ^ http://australian-charts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=Alanis+Morissette&titel=Hands+Clean&cat=s
  11. ^ http://charts.org.nz/showitem.asp?interpret=Alanis+Morissette&titel=Hands+Clean&cat=s
  12. ^ http://charts.org.nz/forum.asp?todo=viewthread&id=36162
  13. ^ http://lescharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=Alanis+Morissette&titel=Hands+Clean&cat=s
  14. ^ http://austriancharts.at/showitem.asp?interpret=Alanis+Morissette&titel=Hands+Clean&cat=s
  15. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dH289KxkGw&ob=av3e
  16. ^ "Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean". Australian Recording Industry Association. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  17. ^ "Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean" (in German). IFPI Austria. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  18. ^ "Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  19. ^ "Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean" (in French). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  20. ^ a b c d "Alanis Morissette: Awards - AllMusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  21. ^ "Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  22. ^ "Alanis Morissette German Charts" (in German). Media Control. musicline.de. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  23. ^ "Top 50 Singles, Week Ending 21 February 2002". Irish Recorded Music Association. Chart-Track. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  24. ^ "Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean". Federation of the Italian Music Industry. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  25. ^ "Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  26. ^ "Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  27. ^ "Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean". Verdens Gang. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  28. ^ "Archiva Romanian Top 100". Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  29. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 8480486392. 
  30. ^ "Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean". Swedish Recording Industry Association. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  31. ^ "Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean". Media Control. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  32. ^ "Alanis Morissette UK chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  33. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 2002". Retrieved 2013-11-15. 

External links[edit]