Article: point counterpoint hanson vs jonas brothers

By | October 1, 2008

It is so easy to forget the days of our youth. It is easy to forget the things that put huge smiles on our faces when we were nine years old–popsicles, snow days, water balloons, the song “MMMBop,” etcetera. Oh, yes, I said “MMMBop.”

Hanson, a great band comprised of three brothers, Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson, played a part in each of our childhoods–even if it was for just a moment. My point is twofold: 1) Hanson is great and I’ll prove it and 2) we were nine years old then, not now-therefore we shouldn’t be idolizing the same bands as nine-year-olds today (cough… Jonas Brothers… cough).

As I sat down to write this, I was thinking about how big of a crush I had on Taylor Hanson back in the day. Well, if he was cute then, he is smokin’ now. Last year, Hanson came to D.C. and played at the 930 Club. I couldn’t not go. Having had about a decade gap between my Hanson experiences, I was blown away that I actually liked their new music. And they’re HOT. So what if they had girl haircuts in the 90’s? So many guys did, it was a fad. Think Travis from “Clueless.” I would hardly say that skinny jeans are manlier…

Unfortunately and unfairly, Hanson has been given a bad rap simply because they had the one amazing, teeny-bopper hit “MMMBop.” First off, we all loved that song; let’s not forget that. Secondly, although not as well known, Hanson has some other great songs up their sleeves.

A friend of mine called their songs “youthful” and said that people who shun Hanson “don’t know what they’re missing.” Their first album, “Middle of Nowhere,” was hands-down their biggest commercial success, but since then they have released albums that better reflect their acoustic, alternative edge. Fans of Gavin Degraw, go and listen to their newest album “The Walk.”

I personally think that the shift in style between their first album and their most recent reflects the classic case of the music industry making the music they want and not what the band wants. Good for them for breaking out and starting their own label. Their 2004 album “Underneath” is one of the most successful self-released albums of all time.

I will concede the point that both Hanson and the Jonas Brothers have values and do charitable work, but is that something we can compare? I give major props to both groups for using their popularity benevolently, but if I had to give an edge to one, I’d give it to Hanson. Their “Walk Tour” collaborated with TOMS Shoes that donate one pair to Africa for every one sold. Before each concert Hanson hosted a one-mile barefoot walk so that their fans understand what walking is like for African children everyday.

As a 20-year old female (going on 21, woot woot!) few songs bring me back to my elementary school years quite like “MMMBop.” I danced to this song in my jazz recital. I remember car rides to soccer games on Saturday mornings when my friends and I would play the Hanson CD on repeat – much to the dismay of the parent driver. I think that it is Hanson’s ability to transcend time and appeal to people of all ages, namely me when I was nine and me now. How sustainable can the Jonas Brothers be? Once they grow too old for the Disney Channel, they’re screwed.

And the kicker… do the Jonas Brothers have a day named after them? No, but Hanson does (May 6th) thanks to the previous governor of Oklahoma. Beat that, Jonas Brothers.


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