Hanson Revisit First Independent Album 20 Years Later with New Video Starring Taylor’s Daughter: ‘Full Circle’ (Exclusive)

By | June 7, 2024


Hanson‘s first independent album is getting a crazy-beautiful new expansion.

PEOPLE is exclusively premiering the music video for “Penny & Me (Moonlight Version),” the leading track from the upcoming 20th anniversary version of the brothers’ 2004 album Underneathtitled Underneath: Complete.

The new album features seven rare tracks and two brand-new recordings, including the reimagined “Penny & Me,” and will also be the focus of a U.S. tour kicking off this fall that will see the band performing two nights back to back in each given city: one acoustic, followed by one electric.

The music video for “Penny & Me (Moonlight Version)” sees the return of The O.C. actress Samaire Armstrong as the titular character whom she played in the original 2004 video for the band’s more up-tempo “Penny & Me” — a fan-favorite song that Taylor Hanson tells PEOPLE was very much about “getting out there, the start of the journey and the freedom.”

The new version, meanwhile, is “as if we’re peeling back the layers to say, at the heart of this song is this earnest romance that’s not a boy/girl — not a relational romance, in the sense — but the romance between you and the things you love and the journeys you go on,” adds Taylor, 41.

Hanson Revisit First Independent Album 20 Years Later with New Music Video Starring Taylor's Daughter:

From L: Penelope Hanson, Taylor Hanson and Samaire Armstrong in the music video for “Penny & Me (Moonlight Version)”.

Alongside the return of Armstrong, 43, as Penny in the Natalie Morales-directed video, is Taylor’s real-life daughter Penelope, whom Taylor and wife Natalie Hanson named after the band’s original “Penny & Me” track.

Penelope, 19, appears in a new portion of the story, seen gathering with friends under the light of the moon. Meanwhile, Armstrong’s original Penny is seen in a follow-up to her original story, older and seemingly now in a more secure, settled-down and serene place in her life.

Near the end of the new video, Penelope, Armstrong and those gathered with them join the band — which also includes Penelope’s uncles (and Taylor’s brothers/longtime bandmates) Isaac and Zac Hanson — marking a “full-circle” moment.

One of the lyrics of the song goes, “Makin’ it by under pink moonlight, it’s always Penny and me tonight.” And both Taylor and Zac are open about the new track being inspired in part by late musician Nick Drake‘s 1972 song “Pink Moon.”

In fact, Taylor describes “Penny & Me (Moonlight Version)” to PEOPLE “as a thread of the new world that we’re building for this song.”

“[Nick was an] incredibly beautiful singer-songwriter that was impactful on us when we were starting to make this record 20 years ago,” he explains. “And so when we went to record this song, we were starting from this point of view of, ‘Nick Drake captured something really beautiful, which was almost cinematic.’ “

“You feel like you just step into this world — this beautiful quiet,” Taylor continues.

Adds Zac, 38, of the new track and video, “It brings us into the context of who we are today in a cool way and doesn’t forget, I think, the hooks of the [original] song, but brings a new style to it that still feels very authentic.”

Taylor credits Morales (Parks and RecreationDead to MeSanta Clarita Diet) for helping the music video tell “three individual stories,” which he thought was “so fresh” and “such a great challenge” that felt perfect for the updated version of the song.

Hanson Revisit First Independent Album 20 Years Later with New Music Video Starring Taylor's Daughter:
L: Isaac, Zac and Taylor Hanson of Hanson; Taylor’s daughter Penelope (R) in the music video for “Penny & Me (Moonlight Version)”.JONATHAN WEINER

As for Penelope, the father of seven — who also shares sons Ezra, 21, River, 17, Viggo, 15, and Indiana, 5, plus daughters Wilhelmina, 11, and Maybellene, 3, with wife Natalie — says any future acting prospects and goals for his oldest daughter are “yet to be seen.”

But her “No. 1” goal for “Penny & Me (Moonlight Version)” was to make sure her presence was the right fit before she dived into the music video.

“When she signed on to do it, [she said], ‘I don’t want it to be about me. I want to just do a great job for this because I love the song and don’t want it to be just, ‘Oh, you’re my daughter, so you should,’ ” Taylor tells PEOPLE.

And while Penelope felt “excitement” and “honor” over being part of the video after hearing her name associated with the original song her whole life, her main focus, according to her dad, was, ” ‘What would Penny do? What would my Penny do in this video?’ “

“And so it was great,” he adds. “I mean, it was definitely a leap to jump in front of the camera that way, but she was down for it.”

Underneath: Complete comes more than two decades after Taylor, Zac and oldest Hanson sibling Isaac, 43, started their own label — 3CG Records, based out of their hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma — and gives them another chance to look back at how far they’ve come since, including their documentary Strong Enough to Break that chronicled the band’s early independence process.

Hanson Revisit First Independent Album 20 Years Later with New Music Video Starring Taylor's Daughter:
From L: Zac, Isaac and Taylor Hanson of the band Hanson.JONATHAN WEINER

And the new album has “probably two audiences,” according to Zac: “One is those who know everything, and one is people who would call themselves fans of Hanson.”

“Those who know Strong Enough to Break understand that we wrote 80 songs and recorded a lot of them for the album. It was a lot,” he says. “So we said, ‘How do we reconnect to this chapter in the band’s history? Well, one of the biggest things we can do is take more of the songs that probably should have been on that record and put them in this context.’ “

With the new album and tour, Zac tells PEOPLE, “It feels like we’re starting maybe our third act here after 20 years of indie. You go, ‘It may be a little different than we thought, and here’s the list of stuff we thought was going to happen when we launched the label and we put out this record.’ “

“Some of them are the same, a lot of them are very different, but we’re here and I think it’s going to be an amazing tour,” he adds. “It’s going to be really, really fun.”

Underneath: Complete arrives via Hanson’s 3CG Records on Friday, Oct. 4, and is available for preorder now.

The Underneath: Experience Tour kicks off Thursday, Oct. 3 in Minneapolis (featuring special guests Matthew Sweet and Phantom Planet) and runs through Monday, Nov. 11, concluding in Los Angeles. Tickets are on sale Friday, June 14 at 10 a.m. local time, with a Hanson.net members presale beginning Saturday, June 8.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *