Well here’s the thing: even if Hanson’s newest record was a piece of garbage, what would you do? Get mad about it? Get mad at the Hansons? As if the Hansons owed you anything? Who are you, huh? Who?
Who are you??
The Brothers Hanson don’t need to keep releasing music records. They have little or nothing to gain, artistically or financially. They started their career with “MMMBop,” maybe the best pop song to come out of the 90s, and made enough money from it to last them a lifetime. They come from well-to-do families. They all have wives and kids. They are all relatively good looking, clean cut young men. They seem exceptionally good natured. The reason they keep putting out records is because they like to. They like music. They are never going to be superstars again, but they have a small and dedicated fanbase who go to their shows and support them. They seem to like their fans. As long as they continue to put out records they will be the constant butt of “LOL THEY LOOK LIKE GIRLS” jokes, but it doesn’t seem to bother them. They just like doing what they’re doing.
Good for them! They’re doing just fine. If you have a problem with them, ignore them. Just know that they are probably leading more fulfilling lives than you are, full of music and joy. Who are you? Who??
Thankfully, the music on Shout It Out is actually pretty good. If you are like any other red-blooded American male and have been keeping a constant eye on Hanson’s career since Middle Of Nowhere, you might have noticed that their last couple records (2004’s Underneath and 2007’s The Walk) were semi-decent adult-pop affairs that often pushed too far into Jack Johnson/Jason Mraz acoustic blandness while mostly ignoring the fizzy pop goodness that is still their strongest asset. Shout It Out brings that goodness back in full effect, making for their most pleasant collection of tunes since This Time Around – “Waiting For This”, “Thinkin ‘Bout Somethin,” “Kiss Me When You Come Home”, and “Give A Little” will fill your heart with sweet tuneful joy. There are some slow piano ballads that don’t do anything, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t like “Carry You There” and “These Walls.”
There are songs with titles like “Musical Ride” and “Voice In The Chorus.” Most of the lyrics are cliche-ridden and not worth mulling over, but who gives a shit? This isn’t a Tom Waits album. Nothing on this record is going to change your life, but it may fill you with sweet good vibes. That is all I ask for from Hanson.
It’s musical comfort food. Happy goodtime kinda-sorta-retro pop from a bunch of nice men who want you to feel good. Who are you to refuse them? Who??
An addendum: please don’t be misled into thinking that it took me almost a month to write this review. It didn’t. It took me about an hour. I’m an exceptionally lazy man, you understand.
The lead guy from LFO died a few days ago and it affected me in the weirdest way possible. I can’t even describe it. The guy was 35. When “Summer Girls” was all over the radio, he was only a year older than I am right now. I did make a comic about it, if that sort of thing interests you at all.
So, for next time: Jordan Knight, Nick Carter, or a tribute to our dear departed Rich Cronin with a review of LFO’s “Life Is Good”? Take your pick.