Anthem is Hanson’s 9th studio album, a mix of the best sounds from their previous records. There is the Motown influence that’s reminiscent of their debut Middle of Nowhere; the inspirational lyrics of This Time Around; the acoustic, reflective style of Underneath; the heavier guitar sound of The Walk; and the indie dance/pop influence of Shout It Out. All of these sounds combined make Anthem a sure hit for both new fans and for those who have been around since the very beginning.
The album starts off incredibly strong, paying tribute to the album title. “Fired Up” is anthemic in nature and features Taylor on vocals, creating the sound people have come to expect from Hanson. With a chorus of “we’re not turning around this time / let’s get fired up,” the album starts off on a promising note.
The next two songs follow in the same footsteps. “I’ve Got Soul” has a heavy Motown influence and is quite similar in style to the music on their last album, Shout It Out. The song has a catchy and memorable rhythm, and the vocals are kept interesting as the song strays from Taylor on lead. “You Can’t Stop Us” introduces a heavier guitar as the three band members chant the repetitive chorus: “You can’t stop us / you can’t stop us now.”
This introduction leads to the fourth track and lead single from the album, “Get the Girl Back.” This song is probably the lightest in sound and content on the album. It makes sense that it was chosen for the lead single, since it’s a lighter sound for summer and it makes you want to get up on your feet and dance. This indie pop sound is the music that Hanson is known for.
There are also quite a few love songs on this album. Some are lyrically sweet, while others are still clever and play around with music stylistically. “For Your Love” is a ballad with Isaac on lead vocals (a staple for a Hanson album); “Juliet” has a quirky tempo and is an all-around beautiful song with Zac on lead vocals (again, another staple for their albums); and “Lost Without You” has a strong chorus that embodies the sound expected from the band. However, not all of the slower songs are thematically love songs. Hanson is also known for their uplifting and inspiring music, which is displayed on “Already Home” and “Tonight.”
Vocally, I was really impressed with “Tragic Symphony.” Taylor’s vocals are particularly strong and he has a knack for singing angry really well. His voice is uniquely expressive and you can feel the heart and soul he pours into performing (and not only on this track).
The album ends with “Save Me From Myself,” a slow and haunting song. It’s darker than the rest of the album and reminiscent of the fan favourite “Broken Angel” from Underneath.
Overall, Anthem is a pure album. It’s filled with soul, catchy music, and passionate lyrics. The songs have been carefully crafted to complement one another and the album is a nod to all the genres that Hanson embodies in their original sound.
5 out of 5 stars
Hanson will be performing in Canada during their Anthem World Tour. Catch them in Toronto on November 9th at Danforth Music Hall and in Montreal on November 10th at Corona Theatre.