The band breaks down what the ’90s hit is really about
To read EW’s full interview with Hanson, pick up the June 2, 2017, issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now — or subscribe online at ew.com/allaccess.
It’s been 20 years since “MMMBop” topped the charts and made pop superstars of young Tulsa, Oklahoma, brothers Isaac, Taylor, and Zac Hanson.
But despite the song’s wild success, Zac believes its depth has been overlooked. “It’s the most misunderstood successful song of all time,” he told EW during a recent interview about the band’s 25th anniversary. “Even at the height of 1997, it’s a song nobody understood,” he says. “99 percent of the people who have any reference from it don’t understand it.”
There’s one group he says did grasp the meaning of “MMMBop”: Hanson’s fervent, longtime fans. “But then you have these Hanson fans who are going, ‘I know exactly what this song means. It’s everything that I’m going through in my life,’” he continues. “It’s this feeling of alienation: ‘I have to choose, in my life, the way this band is choosing who they want to be and represent this music.’”
Taylor explains that the song was inspired by the band knowing, even as young kids still years away from fame, that if they wanted to be successful with music, they might have to give up other things. “That song is partly about the feeling we were starting to feel, of making music and deciding to stick with something,” he says. “Everybody around us, even our friends, didn’t really get what we were doing. A couple years in, even as really young people, we had to decide, ‘Well, there’s soccer practice, or there’s the show.’”