What does Hands Clean mean?

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Alanis Morissette: Hands Clean Meaning

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Song Released: 2002


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Hands Clean Lyrics

If it weren't for your maturity none of this would have happened
If you weren't so wise beyond your years I would've been able to control myself
If it weren't for my attention you wouldn't have been successful and
If it weren't for me you...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
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    Aug 23rd 2009 report

    well it's about her getting involved with a guy that's like.... waaaay older. and it's about how she loved him but he wanted to move on. the lyrics "this could get messy" is saying that the whole situation could blow up and he could get in biiiig trouble. also the lyrics "We'll fast forward to a few years later, And no one knows except the both of us, And I have honored your request for silence, And you've washed your hands clean of this" saying that he moved on but she hasn't. she wants to tell someone but she loves him so much she is "honoring his request for silence" also in parts it talk about him saying things like "I would marry you if you watched your weight" or something like that. there are little comments like that throughout the song. she was saying that he really didn't love her and he only really liked her appearance and such. that he would only love her if she looked 'acceptable' in the end i don't think she gets over him exactly. but i guess it makes her feel better to let out her feelings in a song. she kind of didn't keep his request for silence.. .sorta... she never told what the name of the guy was. but if i was him i'd feel pretty stupid. you left a pretty girl who makes millions. oh well. :)

  2. 2TOP RATED

    #2 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
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    Dec 13th 2009 report

    these are all the things her 29 yearold boyfriend said to her when she was 14. it's like all his quotes and all the things he told her. it's really powerful once you get what it's about. it can easily be misinterpreted as her being the older one, but she isn't.

  3. anonymous
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    Oct 1st 2016 report

    It's about smurfs eating baskin robbins in the nude of friday the 13th

  4. anonymous
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    Nov 28th 2012 report

    Now, Listen to the whole song again but imagine this song is about doing arts and crafts with glitterglue and the supposed crime is running with scissors. It works.
    So it's almost definitely about that.

  5. anonymous
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    Jun 19th 2012 report

    It's about the relationship that she had with Canadian actor/comedian, Dave Coulier aka. Joey on "Full House" when she was 14.

    http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/5429-under-rug-swept/

    "You Oughta Know" was also about this relationship.

  6. anonymous
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    Apr 20th 2012 report

    It's about a teaser...

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  7. anonymous
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    Mar 7th 2012 report

    She seems to be singing about an older "lover" Someone who took advantage of her. Someone she trusted very much. She was a teenager who was groomed by an older man who sexually took advantage of her. It ended abruptly somehow and he acted as if he didn't do anything wrong. He preyed upon her and she become attached to him. That is what it sounds like. If i could write music and say my feelings this is something I could do because f this interpretation is right, I can relate very much. The guy was a perv pretty much. She is older looking back now. "make sure you don't tell on me especially people from your family" "i wish i could tell the world" he is grooming her and making her trust him. He wants to get away with his crimes and have her think its love at the same time. This song made me cry when I heard it. It was like going back to life few years ago.

  8. anonymous
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    Jul 13th 2011 report

    She has said in an interview this is about a relationship she had with someone much older and a part of her management team.

  9. anonymous
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    Dec 25th 2010 report

    its about her losing her virginity. "This could get messy." yuck!

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  10. anonymous
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    Dec 8th 2010 report

    Alanis is referring to a boyfriend she had when she was 14. He was about 15 years older than her, and she is telling about what he said to her, how she felt, and on.

  11. palito
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    Apr 26th 2010 report

    The song is about an abortion that the character has perpetrated in her youth.

    "If it weren't for your maturity none of this would have happened
    If you weren't so wise beyond your years I would've been able to control myself
    If it weren't for my attention you wouldn't have been successful and
    If it weren't for me you would never have amounted to very much "
    He talks her into unsafe sex and she, in love with his wise mood, lets it happen. Or it's starts after she's pregnant and he talks her into a termination,

    "Ooh this could be messy
    But you don't seem to mind
    Ooh don't go telling everybody
    And overlook this supposed crime "
    She talks about the consequences of their acts. She got pregnant and terminated her pregnancy (supposed crime) and nobody can hear about that.

    "We'll fast forward to a few years later
    And no one knows except the both of us
    And I have honored your request for silence
    And you've washed your hands clean of this"
    The problem is solved for him, but it's still a burden for her "a few years later". Nobody knows and she feels guilty.

    "You're essentially an employee and I like you having to depend on me
    You're kind of my protégé and one day you'll say you learned all you know from me
    I know you depend on me like a young thing would to a guardian
    I know you sexualize me like a young thing would and I think I like it"
    She still loves him and supports him, 'cause he's unable to do it by himself. The reference about the "young thing" may also be about the unborn child.

    "what part of our history's reinvented and under rug swept?
    what part of your memory is selective and tends to forget?
    what with this distance it seems so obvious?"
    He erased the event from his memory and they had to reinvent the history and sweep the ugly part under the rug.

    "Just make sure you don't tell on me especially to members of your family
    We best keep this to ourselves and not tell any members of our inner posse
    I wish I could tell the world because you're such a pretty thing when you're done up properly
    I might want to marry you one day if you watch that weight and keep your firm body"
    His family, probably religious, can't be told about the abortion, just like their friends. She wishes they had the baby and it would have been beautiful.

  12. anonymous
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    Feb 22nd 2008 report

    She's stated herself that it was a relationship with a 29 year old man when she was 14, look it up on wikipedia

  13. Shoosh
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    Jan 3rd 2008 report

    I have two conflicting interpretations of this song: 1) It is a reflection on a May/December relationship from the [older] man's point of view, or 2) It is a reflection of the artist's personal experience, with Alanis herself as the "older woman" narrator.

    Much of the language in the lyrics indicates a man addressing a woman in a condescending fashion (i.e. "you're such a pretty thing when you're done up properly" and "I might want to marry you one day if you watch that weight and keep your firm body"). Perhaps at some point Alanis had been involved in this situation with an older man who was both a role model and a lover. From this perspective, Alanis is assuming the role of the older man and using sarcasm to express her bitterness over the relationship.

    However, I could also see this as a situation where Alanis is the "older woman" addressing her younger, subordinate partner. The narrator relishes the power of being a woman worshipped by a younger man, and has fun with the role reversal by mockingly addressing her boyfriend as a "pretty young thing." The exagerrated pompous and presumptuous overtones ("you're essentially an employee and I like you having to depend on me" and "if it weren't for me you would never have amounted to very much") make me think that perhaps she's poking a little harmless fun at this relationship and even at herself.

    Or, I could be way the hell off on both accounts, who knows. LOL

  14. anonymous
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    Jul 9th 2007 report

    It's about a relationship she had when she was still a minor.


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