Tell Me About That Song: Isaac Hanson, Vocalist and Guitarist of Pop Sensation Hanson

By | August 30, 2011

Seattle Weekly

Taylor, Zac, and Isaac Hanson.

​​A lot went into writing your favorite song–but how much do you really know about it? This week Isaac Hanson, vocalist and guitarist of three-piece pop sensation Hanson, delves into recording in a Psycho house, the woes of coming up with the right lyrics, and hidden poetry in the album art.


Song: “A Song to Sing”
Album: This Time Around
Release Date: May 2000
When it was written: Fall 1999

Where it was written: It was actually written during the recording process of This Time Around. We were staying at a house that owned by Anthony Perkins, the actor, most notoriously known for his role in Psycho.

Favorite line in the song: “Goodbye four leaf clovers, hello gone awry/Don’t cry the fight ain’t over, unless you let it pass you by”

Which part was the hardest to come up with? I think inevitably lyrics are always the biggest challenge because a song is the basis, again in most of our cases as songwriters, an initial idea and it’s coming from a place of emotion or rhythm, you know? You hear something, somebody starts playing the drums or something is happening melodically or rhythmically and it starts to guide the inspiration of the song. Or there’s emotion that you’re trying to work through and so that kind of begins to be the seed for which you expand upon once you find the heart of the idea, an idea that you feel is worth pursuing.

If you could go back and change anything, what would it be? I think it’s perfect for what the song is. I think it’s absolutely perfect. It was recorded live, it’s the three of us on vocals, and then a piano performance by Taylor, and it is just very intimate and very real and it speaks to the intimacy and the intensity of the emotion in the lyrics very well.

Odd fact about song: The album version of the song is one verse short of the original composition. We felt like it had one too many verses, and so we cut the third verse of the song just because it seemed like it needed to be condensed slightly from where it was. What’s interesting is fans would probably know of a poem that is written in the album artwork for the This Time Around album underneath the CD and the poem is called “This Glassy Surface.” It is actually the third verse off that song.

What was your inspiration for writing the song? It’s really hard to fully describe, because a lot of songs, they come from certain places emotionally, but a lot of times we deliberately try and diffuse some of the excessively personal nature of songs … The artists I find myself loving the most are artists who write songs about what is going on in their lives, but in a way that’s not limited to their experiences.

What is the meaning behind the song? In some form or another, it’s kind of a song about battling inner turmoil and depression in some form or another. There are a lot of elements to the song. It’s a song about someone fighting with being really, really depressed and being really sad and down, and then not quite knowing where to turn or what to do about it. And it kind of perpetuates and expands upon itself as the song goes on.


Hanson will be performing on Sept. 4 at Showbox at the Market.

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