Hand in My Pocket

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"Hand in My Pocket"
Hand in My Pocket single cover.jpg
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
Genre Alternative rock
Length 3:41
Producer(s) Glen Ballard
Alanis Morissette singles chronology
"You Oughta Know"
"Hand in My Pocket"

"Hand in My Pocket" is a rock[2] 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 U.S. The song became Morissette's second number-one hit on Billboard's U.S. Modern Rock Tracks chart. The song also went in the top ten in New Zealand and the U.S. 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.[3] 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.[4][5] 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.[6] Welch told HitQuarters he was impressed by her "spectacular voice", her character and her lyrics. At the time she was still living at home with her parents. Together they decided it would be best for her career to move to Toronto and start writing with other people.[6] After graduating from high school, Morissette moved from Ottawa to Toronto.[4] 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.[4][6] 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.[6]

Writing and composition[edit]

"Hand in My Pocket" was written by Morissette and Glen Ballard. Ballard met Alanis in 1994, when 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.[7] 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."[8]

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").

"Hand in My Pocket" is written in the key of G major and moves in common time at a tempo of 92 beats per minute. Morissette's vocals span from G3 to C5 in the song.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Allmusic had highlighted the song as an album highlight.[10] But for a solo review, they had given the song two-and-a-half stars out of five stars. G-Pop.net had personally 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."[11]

Chart performance[edit]

"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 U.S. Modern Rock Tracks (Alternative) chart, at number four on the U.S. 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.

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.[12] 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.[13]


The single was added in the set list for Morissette's concert tour, Jagged Little Pill World Tour (1995).[14] The song was added to the tour's video album Jagged Little Pill Live (1997).[14] Since then, the song has been included in her albums MTV Unplugged (1999),[15] Feast on Scraps (2002),[16] and The Collection,[17] as well as 1997 Grammys and the MTV Unplugged compilation albums.[18][19]

Music video[edit]

The single's video features Morissette among a homecoming parade in Brooklyn , New York. It was directed by Mark Kohr and filmed in black-and-white and slow motion.

In popular culture[edit]

"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.[20] In 2015 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.

Track listing[edit]

Promo CD single
  1. "Hand in My Pocket"
CD single
  1. "Hand in My Pocket"
  2. "Right Through You" (Live Acoustic)
  3. "Forgiven" (Live Acoustic)
Australian/European CD single
  1. "Hand in My Pocket"
  2. "Head Over Feet" (Live Acoustic)
  3. "Not the Doctor" (Live Acoustic)
2005 CD single
  1. "Hand in My Pocket" (Jagged Little Pill Acoustic version)

Covers and parodies[edit]

  • It was parodied by 'Rockin Jock' but credit for this parody, 'Trouble', is usually wrongly accredited to Billy Connolly under the title 'Evil Scotsman'.[citation needed]
  • The song has also been parodied by Amateur Transplants on the album Fitness to Practice as part of the song "Snippets".
  • It was parodied by Bob Rivers under the title "Hand in a Lightsocket".
  • The song was covered by Canadian pop-punk band Seaway, released as a single on July 15, 2016.
  • Judith Light performed the song in the third season finale of Transparent as part of her character's one-woman show. Light's performance was universally praised.


Chart (1995–96) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[21] 13
Canadian Alternative 30 (RPM)[22] 4
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[23] 1
France (SNEP)[24] 39
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[25] 86
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[26] 7
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[27] 23
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[28] 45
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[29] 26
US Billboard Hot 100 Airplay 15
US Billboard Adult Contemporary 30
US Billboard Adult Top 40 Tracks 25
US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 1
US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 8
US Billboard Mainstream Top 40 4
Preceded by
"Name" by Goo Goo Dolls
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
October 14, 1995
Succeeded by
"Lump" by The Presidents of the United States of America


Provider Certification Sales/shipments
New Zealand (RAINZ) Gold[12] 15,000


  1. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/hand-in-my-pocket-r235321
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Search Certification Database". Canadian Recording Industry Association.
  4. ^ a b c "Transcript: Profiles of Alanis Morissette, Margaret Cho". CNN People in the News. January 4, 2003.
  5. ^ Wild, David. "Adventures Of Miss Thing". Rolling Stone. November 2, 1995.
  6. ^ a b c d "Interview With Scott Welch". HitQuarters. August 6, 2002. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Billboard Magazine - June 30, 2001". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  8. ^ Wild, David (November 2, 1995). "Alanis Morissette: The Adventures of Miss Thing". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  9. ^ Ballard, Glen. "Alanis Morissette "Hand In My Pocket" Sheet Music in G Major (transposable) - Download & Print". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved 2017-02-28. 
  10. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/alanis-morissette-p144717/songs
  11. ^ http://www.g-pop.net/jaggedlittlepill.html
  12. ^ a b "Top 50 Singles Chart, 31 March 1996". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  13. ^ http://www.officialcharts.com/artist/6845/alanis-morissette/
  14. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "Jagged Little Pill Live". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  15. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Alanis Unplugged". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Feast on Scraps [DVD]". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  17. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Collection". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  18. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "1997 Grammy Nominees". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 28, 2011. 
  19. ^ Rob, Theakston. "Very Best of MTV Unplugged". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved April 14, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Featured Artist Of The Week - Alanis Morissette". Dawson's Creek Music Guide. Retrieved August 23, 2006.
  21. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Alanis Morissette – Hand in My Pocket". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  22. ^ "Rock/Alternative - Volume 62, No. 12, October 23, 1995". RPM. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  23. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 62, No. 18, December 04 1995". RPM. RPM Music Publications Ltd. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  24. ^ "Lescharts.com – Alanis Morissette – Hand in My Pocket" (in French). Les classement single.
  25. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Alanis Morissette – Hand in My Pocket" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  26. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Alanis Morissette – Hand in My Pocket". Top 40 Singles.
  27. ^ "Archive Chart: 1995-10-28". Scottish Singles Top 40.
  28. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Alanis Morissette – Hand in My Pocket". Singles Top 100.
  29. ^ "Archive Chart: 1995-10-28" UK Singles Chart.