Hanson’s new album, and livestream concerts, 5 Things to Know

The Oakland Press

Hanson performs a weekend of livestream concerts Nov. 5-7 to benefit independent music venues. (Photo by Jonathan Weiner)

Hanson performs a weekend of livestream concerts Nov. 5-7 to benefit independent music venues. (Photo by Jonathan Weiner)

It’s been 25 years since Hanson became a pop sensation with “MMMBop.” And the brothers from Tulsa, Okla. — Isaac, Taylor and Zac — are working as hard, if not harder, now as they did back then.

Since that breakthrough, the trio has released another nine albums, two of them holiday sets, along with startling a variety of philanthropic initiatives and side businesses, including a beer called Mmmhops. It’s also toured regularly and added orchestral concerts to its live offerings.

Since the start of the pandemic Hanson has also performed a series of livestream concerts from Tulsa, which have continued into the fall. On Friday, Nov. 5, the group releases a new album, “Against the World,” which compiles tracks recorded at historic FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala. And middle brother Taylor Hanson promises that there’s more on the horizon.

• Taylor, 38 — who’s also been a member of the all-star band Tinted Windows — says Hanson envisioned the roll-out of “Against the World” somewhat differently. “The idea originally was that we would take people through this journey. They’d continue to get content throughout the year, but there’d also be a tour. We’d be somewhere in the world and a new single would come out and then we’d be somewhere else in the world and another new single would come out. With the pandemic and everything it didn’t work that way, but I would say I’m pretty happy with how we were able to adapt and keep people engaged.”

• The livestream concerts, he adds, have been crucial to maintaining that engagement with fans. “I would say connecting through the livestream concerts was essential. That live music, that live event, makes (the songs) feel like they’re still a part of something. That’s still one of the most effective ways to keep people excited. It’s been as effective as we can hope for in this time of limited access.”

• The songs on “Against the World” were created over time, worked on after the initial recording sessions at FAME during 2019. But Taylor hopes that a message emerges in the set. “We as people are trying to put something positive into the world. This group of songs I’m definitely leaning into mostly heavy messages. We started off with the most bright, the most pop songs in the spring, and it got heavier as it went. I’m glad it at least has cohesiveness, ’cause there’s no song that sounds the same or cut from the same cloth. But I do think it has a sense of itself by the time you get everything together. I think people will feel the sense of an album of a project, even if the songs are very different from one another.”

• With Hanson’s 30th anniversary as a band looming in 2022, Taylor says he and his brothers plan “something meaningful,” with new music and a hoped-for return to touring. “Actually getting to play and run round the world, that’s the plan. There should be new music from another project next year, but I’m reluctant to open up about too many details. But next year is going to be a pivotal year for us. I think the band being 30 years old is definitely important.”

• Taylor adds that the 30-year marks gives him and his brothers some pause to consider. “Y’know, some things feel like just yesterday, other things. … The strangeness of time becomes more and more vivid. It’s not linear. It does not feel like everything has just passed and here you are, this many years later. Certain things look extremely fresh. You can’t believe something was two decades ago. And other things feel like another life. Being proud of where you’ve been is important, but I would say for me it’s really important that we continue to forge ahead and push ourselves to go to new places.”

 

Hanson Carries On with New LP, Hit Single, ‘Stronger’

American Songwriter

It may not be obvious at first blush, but the Tulsa, Oklahoma-born band Hanson has been making music for just about three decades. The group, which achieved a No. 1 single in 1997 with the track, “MMMBop,” is comprised of three brothers—Isaac, Taylor, and Zac. And ever since their hit found the airwaves in the late ‘90s, it seems like everyone has an opinion about the band. If there’s no such thing as a bad headline, then Hanson has been happily staying in the public consciousness for decades. But, in reality, the roller-coaster ride of fame for the brother band hasn’t always been smooth. That’s why a major theme for the trio these days is the idea of perseverance. The theme of overcoming odds, of succeeding despite an underdog mentality, is all over Hanson’s newest LP, Against The World, which is out today (November 5).

“As a band, as a unit,” Taylor tells American Songwriter, “we’ve absolutely experienced that challenge of: can you persevere, can you stay the course?”

Taylor was barely a teenager when “MMMBop” came out. He’s 38 years old now. Being in the entertainment game for so long, Taylor is clear-headed about the role. It’s one he’s chosen to take on now for about 30 years. He has some perspective. He knows his job is dual-pronged. On one hand, he’s a creative person. Writing is how he processes the world. He needs to undertake the puzzle-making that is songwriting. But on the other, he’s also a public figure, one who isn’t always in control of the story he forges in unison with an audience, with the public.

“Making music and creating things,” he says, “isn’t simply about: will I do this when it’s successful. It’s a state of being.” Taylor adds, “As a unit, we have never shied away from putting out content about struggle.”

As kids, the brothers were exposed to a small selection of rock and roll at a young age. Their father was in the oil and gas business and, as such, took on jobs that had his family traveling all over the world, from Tulsa to Trinidad. The brothers, who are the oldest of seven children, heard their mom singing around the house. They also listened to the music of Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Charles. The brothers began to make their own music. They would harmonize and stun family members with their abilities. That power soon found a larger audience.

“When the first record broke,” Taylor says, “we truly were able to suddenly live the ultimate dream of having a huge following. The experience has been amazing and it has also been extremely challenging. It puts your sense of character and sense of compass to the test.”

It can be dangerous to see yourself through the eyes of another person. And when you’re known globally, it’s almost impossible not to do that. Not to mention, if you grow up in front of a camera, it can be difficult. Along the way, the Hanson brothers have not avoided controversy completely. Zac, the band’s drummer and youngest of the three, had pro-gun and possibly racist memes from his Pinterest account leaked last year. He later apologized. The oldest, guitar player Isaac, also got into some hot water over “emotional” social media posts about COVID-19 and the worry of potential cancelling of American holidays. While these aren’t crimes, they certainly caused a ruckus for the band and its fans. But, as Taylor points out, that’s where personal growth—and the band’s new record—comes in.

“This record shines a light on a band that is definitely reflecting a lot and is still evolving,” Taylor says. “Where we are as a collective, there’s a lot of coming through adversity messaging in these songs.” He adds, “I think this whole project is really communicating this idea of different paths to come through a challenge or deal with challenging situations, both internally and externally.”

The new seven-track album title, Against the World, came from a conversation the three members had together about the state of the band and its place in the grand scheme. To be up against something, even if that’s the internal world of yourself, can help crystalize real purpose. And the band’s song, “Stronger,” from the new LP is a microcosm of that aim. The track, which sounds like a long-lost Queen number, is all about wanting to be better in the face of personal weakness.

“It’s a conversation a person is having, talking about their own demise and feelings of depression and feeling destitute,” Taylor says. “And then the chorus is the response: I want to be better than this, stronger than I am.”

For Taylor, music, and songwriting offer the chance to improve. Each song is a keyhole to a different and hopefully better-lit room, so to speak. Songwriting has offered Taylor and his brothers the chance at seeing the world, connecting with millions, and learning the depths of their brotherhood and even themselves, as individuals. What more could one ask for? Now, with growth as the main theme, the brothers are poised for more.

“I love that music evolves to reflect wherever you are in your life experience,” Taylor says. “Music is the great connector. It’s with you through sadness, through celebration. It’s with you as a storyteller, it’s your soundtrack to your workout in the morning. It’s a companion that helps people make sense of the world.”

 

HANSON RELEASE NEW ALBUM

HANSON RELEASE NEW ALBUM, AGAINST THE WORLD
SEVENTH OF SEVEN CONSECUTIVE MONTHLY VIDEOS STREAMING NOW

WATCH “FEARLESS”

“The seven-track ‘Against the World’ is a rich and diverse group of songs that showcase the brothers’ range, musicianship, and influences.”
– Associated Press

HANSON release their new album today. Against The World was recorded at the legendary FAME studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, and brings together a series of new sounds that build on the band’s history. The project illustrates HANSON’s musicality, rooted in soul and melodic, rock ‘n’ roll, as well as the band’s longevity as songwriters and performers who have continued to mine their origins while propelling their music forward. The album is streaming now at all DSPs.

“These seven songs each highlight different musical influences, but the common thread is in their message, facing adversity in its many forms, and seeking a way forward. It’s exciting that fans can finally hear the songs as the body of work that is Against The World, the album,” said Taylor Hanson.

PURCHASE/STREAM AGAINST THE WORLD

Against The World was initially announced in May with the release of the debut single and video, “Annalie.” HANSON proceeded to release one song and video per month through today, which sees the release of the clip for “Fearless.” After “Annalie,” the band shared “Don’t Ever Change” in June, “Only Love” in July, the title track “Against The World” in August, “Stronger” in September, and “One” in October.

WATCH “FEARLESS”

Review: Hanson brothers shine on 7-track ‘Against the World’

AP News

This cover image released by 3CG Records shows "Against the World" by Hanson. (3CG Records via AP)

This cover image released by 3CG Records shows “Against the World” by Hanson. (3CG Records via AP)

 

Hanson, “Against the World” (3CG Records)

The guys from Hanson are celebrating 30 years as a band next year, and if that makes you feel old, it’s not their fault. They’ve even put out an album to help you feel young again.

The seven-track “Against the World” is a rich and diverse group of songs that showcase the brothers’ range, musicianship and influences — ones that leave their monster sugar pop hit “MMMBop” far in the rearview mirror.

The album kicks off with “Annalie,” which has bright harmonies and guitar work reminiscent of Paul Simon. “Don’t Ever Change” has a rocking Cheap Trick sound, which is probably because Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick plays guitar.

The rock-pop “Only Love” has an Eddie Vedder-like vocal that transforms from a dark, spare space into an arena singalong. The Hansons’ harmonies are glorious in the Queen-like “Stronger,” “One” is a nice plea for unity and the anthem “Fearless” leans on an orchestra as the brothers soar above strings.

But the highlight is Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson on the title track. “We belong with the restless/Keep company with rebels and with dreamers,” they sing. “There’s equal scars from victory and failure.” If it’s them against the world, we’re on their side.

THE MODERN DRUMMER PODCAST Pop Up Podcast

Modern Drummer

Welcome to an exceptional Modern Drummer “Pop Up Podcast” with Billy Amendola, Lauren Monroe, Rick Allen, and a few of our beautiful friends who pop in to give back and show their support (we’re not going to give it away, you have to watch). This podcast was a fun one (the out-takes “off the record” are even more incredible) but, as much fun as we had to put this together, it’s a severe issue that we all need to help with. Would you please go to the MD website and the Raven Foundation for more details and info for “12 Drummers Drumming” and support our veterans?

We all want to wish Rick a happy birthday today, and what better way to celebrate! (November 1) Everything he and Lauren and their foundation has done over the past twenty years is a blessing for the world and has helped so many people. We’re all grateful that we all get to be in a position to help make the world a better place. Please join us. Remember, “one world.” Please watch, share to get the word out, and God Bless us all.