When Hanson‘s inescapable “MMMBop” topped the charts back in 1997, Hanson brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zachary were 16, 14 and 11, respectively. So if you didn’tcome of age to (or otherwise fall in love with) that song and the bestselling album from which it came, this may sound like a bold statement: Hanson was, and still is, a terrific band, complete with real musical and songwriting chops, airtight harmonies and boundless stage charisma. For skeptics, tarring Hanson with the dreaded “boy band” label has been all too easy, but to dismiss it is to miss out on a ton of delightful music.
Hanson has stayed active in the two decades since Middle Of Nowhere, releasing a string of albums amid side projects ranging from Taylor Hanson’s 2009 supergroupTinted Windows to the band’s line of “Mmmhops” beer. So it only makes sense that 2017 — which marks not only 20 years of Middle Of Nowhere, but also Hanson’s 25th anniversary as a band — would spawn a greatest-hits collection, titled Middle Of Everywhere: The Greatest Hits. What’s actually, genuinely surprising is that the compilation’s token new song, “I Was Born,” is fantastic.
Seriously, watch this video. It’s plenty cute, with the Hanson men sharing lip-synching duties with 11 of the most adorable Hansonian offspring you’ve ever seen. But the song is a gloriously rousing, life-affirming top-down anthem that’s virtually impossible to resist — seriously, “I Was Born” is out today, and if it’s not in a car commercial by this time next week, every ad agency in America will have fallen down on the job.
“The video is about celebrating the dreams that we all have and the pure optimism of the human spirit,” Taylor Hanson writes via email, backing up the sense of joy that shines through within the first 10 hand-clappy seconds of “I Was Born.” “And what better way to show that optimistic view of the world than through the eyes of children? For 25 years, we have been able to live out what we feel we were ‘born to do,’ and this song brings that message full circle.”