Hand In My Pocket ~ Alanis Morissette

20120823-alanis-624x420-1345730558Alanis Nadine Morissette  is a Canadian-American alternative rock singer-songwriter, guitarist, record producer, and actress. She has won 16 Juno Awards and sevenGrammy Awards throughout her career. Morissette began her career in Canada, and as a teenager recorded two dance-pop albums, Alanis (1991) and Now Is the Time (1992), under MCA Records Canada. Her first international album was the rock-influenced Jagged Little Pill, released in 1995. Jagged has sold more than 33 million units globally. Her following album, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, was released in 1998.

Morissette took up producing duties for her subsequent albums, which include Under Rug Swept (2002), So-Called Chaos (2004), and Flavors of Entanglement (2008). Her eighth studio album, Havoc and Bright Lights, was released in 2012. Morissette has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide. Morissette is also known for her powerful and emotive mezzo-soprano voice.  She has been dubbed by Rolling Stone as the “Queen of alt-rock angst”

Morissette was born June 1, 1974, in Ottawa, Canada  to teacher Georgia Mary Ann (née Feuerstein) and high-school principal Alan Richard Morissette.   She has two siblings: older brother Chad is a business entrepreneur,  and twin brother (12 minutes older) Wade is a musician.  Her father was of French and Irish descent and her mother had Hungarian ancestry. Her parents were teachers in a military school and due to their work often had to move. From 1977 to 1980 Morissette spent three years of her childhood in Germany. When she was six years old, she returned to Ottawa and started to play the piano. In 1981, when she was seven years old, she began dance lessons.   Morissette had a Catholic upbringing.  She attended Holy Family Catholic School for elementary school  and Immaculata High School for Grades 7 and 8  before completing the rest of her high school at Glebe Collegiate Institute (Ottawa, Canada). She appeared on the children’s television show You Can’t Do That on Television for five episodes when she was in elementary school.

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 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.  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. In the same year she learned how to play guitar. According to manager Welch every label they had approached had passed on Morissette apart from Maverick.

Maverick Records released Jagged Little Pill internationally in 1995. The album was expected only to sell enough for Morissette to make a follow-up, but the situation changed quickly whenKROQ-FM, an influential Los Angeles modern rock radio station, began playing “You Oughta Know”, the album’s first single.  The song instantly garnered attention for its scathing, explicit lyrics, and a subsequent music video went into heavy rotation on MTV and MuchMusic.

After the success of “You Oughta Know”, the album’s other hit singles helped send Jagged Little Pill to the top of the charts. “All I Really Want” and “Hand in My Pocket” followed, but the fourth U.S. single, “Ironic”, became Morissette’s biggest hit. “You Learn” and “Head over Feet”, the fifth and sixth singles, respectively, kept Jagged Little Pill (1995) in the top twenty on theBillboard 200 albums chart for more than a year. According to the RIAA, Jagged Little Pill sold more than 16 million copies in the U.S.; it sold 33 million worldwide,  making it the second biggest selling album by a female artist (behind Shania Twain’s Come On Over).  Morissette’s popularity grew significantly in Canada, where the album was certified twelve times platinum  and produced four RPM chart-toppers: “Hand in My Pocket”, “Ironic”, “You Learn”, and “Head over Feet”. The album was also a bestseller in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Morissette’s success with Jagged Little Pill (1995) was credited with leading to the introduction of female singers such as Shakira, Meredith Brooks, and in the early 2000s, Pink and fellow Canadian Avril Lavigne.  She was criticized for collaborating with producer and supposed image-maker Ballard, and her previous albums also proved a hindrance for her respectability.  Morissette and the album won six Juno Awards in 1996: Album of the Year, Single of the Year(“You Oughta Know”), Female Vocalist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Best Rock Album.  At the 1996 Grammy Awards, she won Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, Best Rock Song (both for “You Oughta Know”), Best Rock Album and Album of the Year.

Later in 1996, Morissette embarked on an 18-month world tour in support of Jagged Little Pill, beginning in small clubs and ending in large venues. Taylor Hawkins, who later joined the Foo Fighters, was the tour’s drummer. “Ironic” was nominated for two 1997 Grammy Awards — Record of the Year and Best Music Video, Short Form —and won Single of the Year at the 1997 Juno Awards, where Morissette also won Songwriter of the Year and the International Achievement Award. The video Jagged Little Pill, Live, which was co-directed by Morissette and chronicled the bulk of her tour, won a 1998 Grammy Award for Best Music Video, Long Form.

Hand In My Pocket

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 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. That received positive reviews as well.

The Song in Popular Culture

“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 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 – Morissette, Ballard

I’m broke but I’m happy
I’m poor but I’m kind
I’m short but I’m healthy, yeah
I’m high but I’m grounded
I’m sane but I’m overwhelmed
I’m lost but I’m hopeful baby
What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be fine fine fine
’cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five
I feel drunk but I’m sober
I’m young and I’m underpaid
I’m tired but I’m working, yeah
I care but I’m restless
I’m here but I’m really gone
I’m wrong and I’m sorry baby

What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be quite alright
’cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is flicking a cigarette
And what it all comes down to
Is that I haven’t got it all figured out just yet
’cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving the peace sign
I’m free but I’m focused
I’m green but I’m wise
I’m hard but I’m friendly baby
I’m sad but I’m laughing
I’m brave but I’m chickenshit
I’m sick but I’m pretty baby

And what it all boils down to
Is that no one’s really got it figured out just yet
’cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is playing the piano
And what it all comes down to my friends
Is that everything’s just fine fine fine
’cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is hailing a taxi cab

  • Audio from the 1995 album, Jagged Little Pill:


Play Hand In My Pocket - by Alanis Morissette