The Hanson brothers have tossed their hat in this summer’s music arena with their latest release Shout It Out. Anyone looking for the playfulness of “Mmm Bop” may be initially disappointed, but in the end pleasantly surprised. The selection of songs displayed on Shout It Out (which was completely written and produced by the Hanson brothers) aptly displays the completion of the maturation process of the Tulsa sibling trio as artists, and as men. Even though iTunes classifies this album as “Rock,” it is not to be typecast, it has something for everyone.
The lead single, “Thinking About Something” was the perfect choice to formally introduce this album to the listening masses. It’s catchy hook and Motown feel is infectious. In fact, if you close your eyes, you might even be able to visualize Issac, Taylor, and Zac in matching suits pulling of the Temptations’ classic shuffleboard step.
If it’s the piano ballad you want, then it’s the piano ballad you get with the track “Use Me Up.” This is a very emotional piece that gets convincingly pulled off by the very evident harmonic chemistry shared by the Hanson clan. It is also very Richard Marx-ish.
“Make It Out Alive” seems to call on the pep from The Foundations’ vintage hit “Build Me Up Buttercup” while laying soulful lyrics on top of rock production. The guys even try to school the fellas on the art of courtship with “Give a Little.” They provide a step-by-step guide for winning the cat and mouse game by delivering lines like “…leave an empty shoulder/let her move in closer…” over a Ska-ish, yet Rock-ish beat.
Like most albums nowadays, not every track can be a stand out, and Shout It Out comes with its fair share of filler. Some of Hanson’s songs come off sounding like imitations of the superior songs of this album. “Me, Myself, and I” seems to have been created in the mold of “Use Me Up.” It’s another piano ballad that Bryan Adams could have stepped in and done, and no one would be the wiser. Nice song, but not on the same level as “Use Me Up.” The same goes for “And I Waited,” which gives the audience the same Ska feel as “Give A Little,” except they threw in more Rock and R&B elements, which can confuse the listener on which direction the guys were trying to take.
Majority of the tracks on Shout It Out deserve a fair and full listen. “Voice In the Chorus” is a nice and entertaining upbeat track, if you can look past the sound resemblance to Maroon 5. “These Walls” has a heavy R&B influence and allows Hanson to showcase their more soulful side. Really the only track I could not get into was “Carry You There.” To quote legendary American Idol judge Randy Jackson, “it was just ah-ight” and “I wasn’t really feelin’ it, dawg!” It came off as boring and uninspired. It never really caught my attention, but to each his own.
All in all, this latest effort by Hanson is very multi-dimensional and beautifully displays the group’s ease within themselves and comfort with their position in the music industry. Even though their style extends over different genres, there is only one label that sticks out to describe Shout It Out…refreshing.