Quick, someone name that song.
Hanson is one of the greatest bands ever. Am I’m being serious about this. It’s not just like they are my favorite band (which, of course they are), it’s that they really are a fantastic band. Don’t get me wrong; I love the Backstreet Boys as much as the next person, but I’m not going to call them one of the greatest bands ever.
The boys – eh, men – write all of their own music. Every lyric comes from them. Which, (on a side note) I want to know how that works out. How do these three happily married guys with young families write such heartbreaking songs? Or how do they write those “done-me-wrong” songs? They write them, and sing them with such heart, soul and emotion, and I just don’t understand it. I just don’t understand how they can be so convincingly sad or angry about something that is clearly not happening to them. I guess it’s just the mark of a good artist? Also, when they record a new album, they record it as a band; all the instruments in one room, being played at the same time. In case this seems like something that would be common practice to you, let me assure you that it’s not. Most bands record each instrument and vocal separately and then mix them together. But with a Hanson recording, they are all one. Yes, they do dub some things over, but everything is initially recorded together. That is talent.
Hanson has been making music together for over 15 years now. Sure, they only have 5 albums (not counting the Christmas album and the indie recordings album), and lots of bands have more than that, but their albums are full of real music. Real…and different music. No two of their albums sound the same. Sure they all have a “Hanson sound” to them, but they all have a different feel. You have Middle of Nowhere that is very much a pop album. Then you have This Time Around, which has an edgier, almost rock, but still pop sound to it. Their third album, Underneath, is bluegrass-y and roots-y. The Walk (my favorite album) is a rock and roll album. Their latest album, Shout It Out, has a distinct throwback sound to it. It is very R&B, not the R&B that we associate with acts like Usher, but true rhythm and blues, with a big band sound to it. They are always changing.
I got to see them live for the first time (definitely not the last) last October. And it was definitely one of the best shows that I have ever seen. They do this rare thing where they play live…and sound good. Who knew that was even still possible? Let’s not forget that they aged well, they went from being three cute little boys to being three very handsome men, so that definitely doesn’t hurt from a live perspective. They play their instruments and sing, and they engage the crowd. To be as spectacular as they are, they have sort of a cult following (which is truly sad when less talented people get nominated for Grammys on a regular basis), so their shows, while packed, tend to be at pretty small venues. This means they can be more engaging and intimate with their audiences, which is cool. Seriously. Greatest. Show. Ever. Everyday it takes everything I have to not become a Hanson groupie and go to every single show. It was that good.
(Also, I got to meet Taylor. The 8-year-old inside of me freaked out. It was all I could do to stay cool.)
It makes me sad to think that there will never be another Hanson. Never. There is no band out there that could mimic their sound. It’s not like a boyband where once they grow up, some other boyband will come and take their place. Nobody will ever be able to take their place. They are the band that nurtures my love of music. They are the band that began it all. They are the reason I love music the way I do. Just like my dad had The Beatles, I have Hanson. They are my Beatles.
Below I have created a playlist containing songs from each Hanson album. These songs may give you a feel for the album, but mostly they are there because they are some of my favorites
(I have too many favorites to fit on to one CD, so I suggest you go listen to all of their albums).
Crash course in Hanson:
- Thinking of You (Middle of Nowhere)
- Mmmbop (Middle of Nowhere)
- Where’s the Love (Middle of Nowhere)
- With You in Your Dreams (Middle of Nowhere)
- If Only (This Time Around)
- This Time Around (This Time Around)
- Runaway Run (This Time Around)
- Wish That I Was There (This Time Around)
- Sure About It (This Time Around)
- Penny & Me (Underneath)
- Lost Without Each Other (Underneath)
- When You’re Gone (Underneath)
- Get Up and Go (Underneath)
- Crazy Beautiful (Underneath)
- Great Divide (The Walk)
- Been There Before (The Walk)
- Georgia (The Walk)
- Running Man (The Walk)
- Go (The Walk)
- Tearing It Down (The Walk)
- Thinkin’ Bout Somethin’ (Shout It Out)
- Kiss Me When You Come Home (Shout It Out)
- Use Me Up (Shout It Out)
- Musical Ride (Shout It Out)
- Me Myself and I (Shout It Out)
Listen to the playlist here.