Review: Hanson – Shout it Out

By | May 25, 2010

Author’s Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.25
Lyrics 5.5
Production 8
Creativity 8.25
Lasting Value 7.75
Reviewer Tilt 8
Final Verdict: 78%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.9
Musicianship 9.6
Lyrics 9.8
Production 9.5
Creativity 9.75
Lasting Value 9.75
Reviewer Tilt 10
Average: 98%

Remember that trio of Oklahoma blondes that took the radio by storm in 1997? Remember all the jokes about how puberty would ruin their careers, that they were a flash in the pan, that they’d go bankrupt, wind up in rehab, etc.

Turns out all of those predictions were wrong.

Fourteen years removed from their time in the spotlight, the rock trio Hanson are still making albums, still touring the country and still selling records. And while their omnipresence on radio may indeed be behind them, their fifth studio album (ninth overall) Shout It Out, is bonafide proof that Hanson are far from a flash in the pan. Drawing on the classic sounds of R&B, soul and blues albums they listened to growing up, Shout it Out is a breezy, sun-kissed collection of 12 hook-heavy, brass-indebted rock songs not unlike Chicago’s 17.

From start to finish, Shout it Out is awash in frolicking pianos, playful guitar solos and ample amounts of horns. Anchored by Taylor ‘s full-lunged vocals, this is an album of soulful, viciously catchy rock n’ roll. Opener “Waiting For This,” sets the tone with a tickling piano line and Isaac’s lively guitar work. Zest-laden, undeniably sunny and awash in optimism, it’s a promising opening for a wholly satisfying body of work. Though “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin,” is the disc’s lead single, It’s successor, the groove-based “Kiss Me When You Come Home,” seems a feasible choice for second single. Feeding off Taylor’s impassioned crooning, Isaac’s inspired playing and Zac’s snappy drumming, it’s a decidedly mature dose of pop perfection.

Though the band is at their best when left to their own devices, the aid of helping hands certainly does little to diminish their sound. A pristine example is the glorious harmonizing of soul singers in the gospel-influenced “Carry You There.” Unfortunately, that marks the end of the the album’s first half as the following three songs flatten out significantly. “And I Waited,” “Give a Little,” and “Make it Out Alive,” seem to rely on the horn section to do most of the work. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but whereas “Carry You There,” fed off the soul singers, this middle triumvirate doesn’t seem to feed off the horns in nearly the same way. Instead, what could have been an engaging and memorable stretch turns into 12 minutes of filler. Thankfully the piano-driven ballad “Use Me Up,” is next and hot damn, if it’s not one of the best ballads written this year. Achingly tender, unarguably sincere and gorgeously arranged, it is arguably one of Zac’s finest vocal performances to date.

The mid-tempo leanings of “These Walls,” and the leave-it-all-on-the-table cut “Voice in the Chorus,” are further examples of just how triumphant Shout it Out is. There’s an unflinching sincerity, a palpable energy and an inherent conviction that drives both of these songs to glory. By the time the vocal-driven album closer “Me, Myself and I,” roll around, one can’t help but wonder, is this really the same band that wrote “MMMBop”? Aside from the trio’s penchant for maudlin and borderline campy lyrics, there’s little about Shout it Out that isn’t infectious. So while for many it may be a bitter pill to swallow, the fact of the matter is, 14 years removed from their chart-topping success, the young 20-somethings known as Hanson are indeed here to stay. And as long as they continue writing albums this strong, there’s no reason anyone should want them to leave.

Track Listing 1. Waiting For This
2. Thinking ‘ Bout Somethin’
3. Kiss Me When You Come Home
4. Carry You There
5. Give a Little
6. Make it Out Alive
7. And I Waited
8. Use Me Up
9. These Walls
10. Musical Ride
11. Voice in the Chorus
12. Me, Myself and I

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