Blogs: Hanson

By | June 24, 2010


Those of you who regularly question and disagree with my taste in music might as well stop reading now. I don’t care if you disagree with me, especially on this one, and I really couldn’t care less what you think about my taste.

I’ve been listening to music for close to 50 years. I know what I like. If you can’t deal with it, go away. I’m beyond caring about your lousy opinions about my lousy taste.

There. That said, let’s continue.

I’ve wavered on this one for years.

I’ve gone back and forth, saying I like specific songs and even put one of their albums in my top five.

But I’ve never been able to say I’m a fan of the BAND. Until now.

I am a fan of Hanson.

You betcha. The guys who did “MMMBop,” the three brothers from Tulsa who were teen idols for about 18 months 13 years ago.

Guess what? They’ve gone the independent route, and turned into a band that has mastered power pop as well as 70s-style pop, which is evident on their new album, “Shout It Out.”

I’ve always been at a loss when I’ve tried to describe what I consider to be “70s-style pop” or “70s-style albums.” It’s more a case where I know it when I hear it. 70s-style pop can include horns or strings without embarrassment. It isn’t afraid to combine or borrow from other styles. If a song sounds a little bit like rhythm-and-blues and a little bit like a lushly orchestrated piece and a bit traditional and unabashedly romantic, that’s 70-s style.

The 70s-style album isn’t afraid to mix styles, maybe include a song with horns and one with a steel guitar, and if there are three or four people in the band who can sing, it’s a nice changeup to let them all solo at some point.

Hanson has crafted that. “Shout It Out” is even more balanced than “The Walk,” although “The Walk” had a couple of great songs in “Great Divide” and “Running Man.”

As I’ve written before, I think the key for me in this transition of Hanson being a group I admitted to listening to into a group I honestly like a lot is middle brother Taylor, who’s developed a great rock-pop voice, and the group writes a great batch of songs around him.

One of the details I appreciated from early in their career was how they refined their tastes growing up listening to Time-Life collections of songs from the 1960s and 1970s. For some, that’s a curse, and for those people, “Shout It Out” sounds a little tired.

The All-Music Guide’s entry on the album calls Hanson “the youngest baby boomers on record.” A friend told me she didn’t like the Tinted Windows album from last year (the power-pop supergroup with Taylor Hanson on vocals) because a reviewer mentioned Taylor and Robin Zander favorably in the same sentence.

Be that as it may. I don’t find the sound tired, and I’m not going to criticize the band because I don’t agree with what someone wrote about them.

Here’s the song they’re pushing as the lead single. I like the first cut – “Waiting for This” – better. I suppose the “Blues Brothers” tribute won’t make the “youngest baby boomer” accusations go away, though. (And that guy playing the tambourine? It’s “Weird” Al Yankovic, whom I assume directed this spot.)

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