It was written, composed, and produced by Morissette herself and released as the album's lead single on 8 February It features a shuffling, largely acoustic-rock framework. The song received generally positive reviews from music criticssome of whom immediately chose the track as an album standout compared to some of her previous material.
The song peaked at number 23 on the US Billboard Hot The song also peaked at Unprodigal Daughter (Non LP Track) - Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean three on the US Adult Top 40 and topped the charts in New Zealand and Canada, where it became her sixth and most recent number-one single.
An accompanying music video was released in for the single. According to Jennifer Vineyeard of MTV Newsthe new album's topic was "love, sex, cruelty — with the added vantage of years spent growing up and getting over the man who vexed her so. So it was all really fast and accelerated, and I think 'Hands Clean' was maybe the tenth song that I wrote and I just wrote it with Samhain - November-Coming-Fire guitar Léda Et Maria* - Chants DArgentine a room.
Of the 27 songs written for the album,  "Hands Clean" was picked to be the first single and was released on 8 February Morissette's vocal range spans from the low-note of G4 to the high-note of G6. Lyrically, "Hands Clean" explores a past relationship and how its effects linger. Music dug deeper, writing that it "tells the story of her attempts to come to grips with an intergenerational affair that started when she was as young as 14,"  Unprodigal Daughter (Non LP Track) - Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean statement also made by other critics.
So now it's almost like I wanted to liberate myself from not beating myself up any longer. It's almost irrespective of his involvement now; it's more about me and my relationship with my own past. While choosing the song as a highlight from Under Rug Steeler - SteelerStephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic compared its lyrics to her earlier hit " You Oughta Know ," also noting that "this would all seem calculated, an attempt to regain her chart status, if Morissette wasn't so unabashedly earnest, seemingly unembarrassed by her confessions.
Club praised the track for being "a breezy new single" and "infectious enough to surpass the direst moment of 'Under Rug Swept. In the United States, the song debuted at number 65 on the week of 8 February moving to number 49 the following week. It is Morrisette's only song to crack a Billboard year-end in a year other thanas it narrowly cracked the year-end chart at number In Canada, "Hands Clean" became her sixth number-one single.
In Australia, "Hands Clean" debuted and peaked at number nine, on 8 February It became her highest-charting single there since " Ironic " in and her last to reach the top ten. The song also experienced commercial success in some European countries, such as Italy, where it reached number three,  Norway, peaking at number seven,  and Switzerland, reaching number five.
Francis Lawrence directed the music video for "Hands Clean. The video begins with Alanis sitting in a sushi bar when she spies a man played by Chris Sarandon  as he enters. She has a flashback to a time when she spurned his unwanted advances, and it had an effect on her. We see Alanis's memories played out on a television screen, and 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 flown across oceans, in order to be put on display at hip record stores, where it is snapped up by many eager hands, including a Unprodigal Daughter (Non LP Track) - Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean in a beanie played by Masiela Lusha.
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 this person who had a profound effect on her this second time, she is able to move on: before departing the restaurant, she picks up a napkin and wipes Unprodigal Daughter (Non LP Track) - Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean hands clean.
The video was generally praised for being short and simple. It has received 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.
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And any time I speak untruths in my life, and often-times I feel by not speaking the truth, by being silent, there's an element of an untruth in that. Withholding the truth sometimes Unprodigal Daughter (Non LP Track) - Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean feel just as horrible as a lie to me. So as I get older, I think I want more and more to introduce the bliss of speaking transparently and truthfully and as honestly as I possibly can, knowing that the truth in this case is my truth only.